Modified Barium Swallow

Patient looking at results of modified barium swallow studyA modified barium swallow (MBS) is an x-ray test designed to determine the cause of a swallowing problem, and whether food or liquid is entering a person’s lungs, also known as aspiration.

It allows the medical team to observe the coordination and movement of muscles in the mouth and throat during chewing, drinking, and swallowing. It is used in identifying the reason for aspiration and any appropriate strategies

In modified barium swallow, you eat foods and drink liquid containing barium sulfate, a contrast dye that sharply outlines your mouth, throat, and esophagus on x-ray. Using real-time x-rays, or fluoroscopy, a physician and a speech pathologist observe the movement of the barium through these structures on a monitor. Modified barium swallow is specifically aimed at evaluating the swallowing process in individuals who may have difficulty swallowing or experience coughing or pain while eating or drinking.

Once the causes of the swallowing difficulty are identified, the most appropriate treatment or management techniques for the swallowing problems can be determined.