Estim Swallowing Treatment Research

Anhela Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1
People who get radiation therapy for head and neck cancer often experience trouble eating and swallowing. During radiation treatment, and up to 3 months after treatment, eating difficulty usually occurs because the radiation "burns" the tissues in the mouth and/or throat which can be extremely painful. After 3 months after radiation therapy, a scar-like tissue called fibrosis can start to build up in and around the muscles and tissues needed for eating, drinking, and swallowing. This can make the muscles and tissues stiff and difficult to move, which can make swallowing food difficult or even impossible.

There is no definitive therapy to improve dysphagia and fix fibrosis. However, there is a lot of promise in the use of intense swallowing exercises and potentially electrical stimulation.

Boston University Medical Center is currently conducting a multi-center NIH/NCI funded clinical trial entitled "Efficacy of Electrical Stimulation for Dysphagia in Head & Neck Cancer Patients." The therapy in our clinical trial aims to strengthen and retrain the muscles used in swallowing, helping them to "push through" the stiff fibrosis. It may also help to break up or re-organize some of that fibrotic tissue. Ultimately, we want to know if exercises and/or electrical stimulation can help head and neck cancer patients treated with radiation to eat, drink, and swallow better.

You may be eligible if the following apply to you...

-are at least 3 months after radiation or chemo-radiation for head/neck cancer
-had little surgery
-have problems swallowing
-no pacemaker or defibrillator
-no previous e-stim treatment to the head/neck region

Several hospitals across the country are participating.

If you are interested and/or have more questions, feel free to visit our website at or contact us via email or call 212-263-6046


  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
    Electrical Stimulation
    cool if it works how about Jaw problems