Upper airway, voice and swallowing disorders

Laryngology is the subspecialty of Otolaryngology─Head and Neck Surgery that deals with disorders of voice production, swallowing and the upper airway. Through the Voice, Swallowing and Airway Clinic at the Dickson Building, Victoria General Hospital, students can expect to gain comprehensive, modern exposure to the field of laryngology. With advances in endoscopic equipment and technique over the past decade, the role of the laryngologist has expanded significantly both in the diagnosis of laryngologic disorders as well as the medical, endoscopic and surgical treatment of them.

As the only dedicated, tertiary level, laryngology clinic in the Maritime Provinces, the Voice, Airway and Swallowing Clinic at Dalhousie sees both routine and complex cases from a wide catchment area. 

The very definition of multidisciplinary, laryngology clinics include:

Voice Lab

Comprehensive endoscopic evaluation of voice disorders oriented to those in professional voice roles. Patients are seen jointly by the attending laryngologist and a speech & language pathologist.

Upper Airway Clinic

In the Upper Airway Clinic we see patients with complex upper airway disorders, including bilateral vocal fold immobility, posterior, subglottic and upper tracheal stenosis, and dynamic causes of obstruction such as vocal fold dysfunction. This clinic is also where common endoscopic procedures are performed including endoscopic upper aerodigestive biopsies, vocal cord injection medializations, injection augmentations for patients with velopharyngeal insufficiency, and, hopefully soon, use of fibre-based lasers in the clinic setting.

Oropharyngeal Dysphagia Clinic

Patients with potential upper aerodigestive swallowing disorders are seen and endoscopically evaluated with a Functional Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing exam (FEES). Our team involves the laryngologist, a speech & language pathologist, and a dietician, allowing for comprehensive multidisciplinary diagnosis and approaches to treatment.

Pediatric Voice and Airway Clinic

Jointly staffed by Dr. Timothy Brown (adult voice and airway surgeon) and Dr. Liane Johnson (pediatric otolaryngologist and airway surgeon), this clinic is run out of the adult site, but caters to children with voice and some upper airway disorders.

Neuro-laryngology Clinic

Patients with neurologic voice disorders such as spasmodic dysphonia and vocal tremor are seen in this joint clinic in conjunction with a staff neurologist Dr. Timothy Benstead. EMG-guided botulinum toxin injections are routinely given for these disorders.

Operative experience

Students can expect to see a range of endoscopic, microscopic and open voice and airway surgeries along with occasional exposure to pediatric open airway surgeries at the IWK.

We very much welcome students who have clinical or research interests in otolaryngology to spend time with us in Laryngology - contact us!