Effects of maneuvers on swallowing function in a dysphagic oral cancer patient

Head Neck. Sep-Oct 1993;15(5):419-24. doi: 10.1002/hed.2880150509.


This study examined the effects of three swallow maneuvers: (1) the supraglottic swallow (voluntary closure of the vocal folds prior to the swallow); (2) the super-supraglottic swallow (airway closure at the level of the arytenoid to base of epiglottis); and (3) the Mendelsohn maneuver (voluntary prolongation of laryngeal elevation and cricopharyngeal opening during swallow) on swallow functioning in a 47-year-old patient who underwent right composite resection for a squamous cell carcinoma of the right retromolar trigone. All maneuvers were employed during the same videofluorographic (VFG) swallow study conducted 6 months after the patient's surgery. Biomechanical analysis of 3-mL swallows defined the extent and timing of tongue base retraction to the posterior pharyngeal wall, laryngeal elevation, laryngeal closure and cricopharyngeal opening during swallows with and without maneuvers. Airway closure duration was prolonged during supraglottic and super-supraglottic swallows, but aspiration was not eliminated. Use of the Mendelsohn maneuver improved coordination and timing of pharyngeal swallow events, including timing of posterior movement of the tongue base to the pharyngeal wall in relation to airway closure and cricopharyngeal opening, with elimination of aspiration. The Mendelsohn maneuver compensated for anatomic and physiologic changes in the oropharyngeal swallow and enabled reinstatement of safe oral intake in this surgically treated head and neck cancer patient who was previously unable to take nutrition orally.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / physiopathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Cineradiography
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Esophagus / physiopathology
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Glottis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Larynx / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oropharynx / physiopathology
  • Pharynx / physiopathology
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Respiration
  • Time Factors
  • Tongue / physiopathology
  • Tongue Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / surgery
  • Video Recording
  • Vocal Cords / physiopathology