Swallowing and Voice Disorders

Laryngology


Dr. Weissbrod is one of a few doctors in the country who specializes in rehabilitation to address voice and swallowing disorders.

The Voice and Swallowing Center at UC San Diego Health System is the only multispecialty center for laryngologic care in San Diego.

See CBS's The Doctors featuring Voice and Swallowing Center Director Philip Weissbrod, MD

Since the 1980s, the center has had a reputation of being on the forefront of both research and clinical care. We are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of voice, swallowing, and airway disorders.  The center offers a wide range of state-of-the-art medical, surgical, and behavioral therapy options. Our goal is to restore and optimize voice and laryngeal function to enhance communication, performance and quality of life.

The center is staffed by a laryngologist, speech pathologists, and a skilled nursing team. We also rely on the expertise of physicians in our academic medical community including neurologists, gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, rheumatologists, infectious disease specialists, and other surgical specialists for consultation in complex cases.

Many patients who are referred to the center have hoarseness, cough, reflux, or other changes in voice quality. Some of our patients are professional voice users including actors, singers, public speakers and other individuals who rely on their voice for their vocation. We see a wide variety of swallowing problems relating to radiation therapy, cricopharyngeal spasm, Zenker’s diverticula, or neurologic disease including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), dystonia, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and other movement disorders

Treatments

UC San Diego Voice and Swallowing Center Staff

Our multidisciplinary team utilizes leading-edge therapies to address voice and swallowing disorders including:

  • Speech and voice therapy 
  • Swallow therapy
  • Medication management for:
    • Allergy
    • Candidiasis
    • Chronic cough
    • Gastroesophageal or laryngopharyngeal reflux
    • Laryngitis
  • Office-based procedures 
    • Diagnostic laryngeal electromyography
    • Flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing
    • Flexible laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy
    • KTP laser for treatment of papilloma, glottic dysplasia/cancer, granuloma
    • Laryngeal botox for laryngeal dystonia and tremor
    • Transnasal esophagoscopy
    • Videostroboscopy (flexible and rigid)
    • Vocal fold injection medialization
  • Operating room based procedures - We offer a wide variety of both endoscopic minimally invasive surgery and open surgical procedures for:
    • Airway stenosis/scarring of the pharynx, larynx, subglottis, and trachea
    • Aspiration
    • Benign vocal fold lesions including cysts, polyps, granulomas, papillomas, and Reinke’s edema
    • Cricopharyngeal hypertrophy and spasm
    • Laryngeal tumors and dysplasia
    • Vocal fold atrophy
    • Vocal fold immobility
    • Zenker’s diverticula 

Research

As the region’s largest academic health system, and the only laryngology center in San Diego, we offer patients the opportunity to participate in research and clinical trials investigating newly developed therapies not yet available at other hospitals and clinics. Read more about research and clinical trials.

Office Consultation

During the first consultation, patients will have a comprehensive evaluation including a complete history and physical examination. We will ask you to fill out a patient history form and questionnaire prior to seeing our practitioners. Most patients will need an evaluation of the larynx that includes either transoral or transnasal endoscopy or videostroboscopy. You should plan to spend up to 40 minutes in our office at your initial visit. 

At the end of the first visit, we will provide a comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic plan based upon your individual needs.  This may include the scheduling of further testing, the prescription of medication, or plan for either therapy or surgical intervention. We believe that a patient’s understanding of his or her condition is an important first step in healing and we will prioritize this throughout your care.

If you are interested in making an appointment please contact us.