Cory O'Brien, Speech Pathologist

Help for Patients with Swallowing Problems and Voice Issues

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), esophageal cancer, and neck and esophageal surgeries can cause difficulty swallowing. Sometimes reflux also changes a person’s voice. To diagnose swallowing problems and help patients better manage these symptoms, the AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa has a Voice and Swallowing Center.

While the ability to swallow may seem effortless, it is a very complex process. Roughly 50 pairs of muscles and many nerves work to move food from the mouth to the stomach. Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia, can affect your ability to eat, drink or take medicine. Dysphagia can also put you at risk for serious health consequences.

Symptoms of a swallowing disorder can include:

  • A feeling that food is getting stuck in the throat
  • Pain or discomfort while eating or drinking
  • Coughing during eating or immediately afterward
  • Having a wet or gurgly voice

Work Closely with an Expert Speech-Language Pathologist

The Voice and Swallowing Center is led by a speech-language pathologist, a trained professional who helps patients regain function of their mouths and throats. In evaluating patients, Cory O'Brien, AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa’s speech-language pathologist observes how their muscles work when they swallow. She often performs special tests to see inside their throats and works closely with gastroenterologists to create care plans if dysphagia is caused by underlying issues with the digestive tract. Cory also helps patients relearn how to swallow and speak as well as possible.

Treatments provided at the Voice and Swallowing Center include:

  • Teaching patients how to perform specialized exercises that improve muscle movement
  • Helping patients discover eating and drinking positions and strategies that make swallowing easier
  • Finding out with patients which specific food and liquid textures are easier for them to swallow

Many times, working with a speech-language pathologist can fully restore patients’ abilities to eat and drink so they can enjoy food as much as they did before their injuries or conditions.

Are you in need of treatment for an esophageal condition and want to find out if minimally invasive surgery could help you? Call the AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa at Call813-615-7557 for an appointment.


Mickle Center for Reflux and Esophageal Disorders

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  • Esophageal Cancer

    Typically esophageal cancer requires surgery in addition to radiation and chemotherapy. Learn more about the surgical treatments our specialists can provide.

  • Achalasia

    The experienced surgeons at AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa offer effective and permanent treatment for achalasia. Learn more about these treatment options.

  • Acid Reflux/GERD

    AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa is a regional top provider of care for acid reflux: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and laryngopharyngeal reflux. 

  • Barrett's Esophagus

    The gastroenterologists and surgeons at AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa provide leading-edge treatment for Barrett’s esophagus. Learn more today.

  • Swallowing Disorders

    Our board-certified speech pathologist can assist patients with swallowing disorders and voice issues.

  • Esophageal Surgery

    At AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa, we offer minimally invasive, robotic esophageal surgery as a cancer treatment option.

  • Upper Endoscopy / Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

    An upper endoscopy helps doctors look at the esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine and can help diagnose a range of conditions.

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Faster Recoveries. Better Outcomes.

Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery

All the surgeons at the Digestive Health Institute (DHI) at AdventHealth Tampa have a large depth of experience in offering minimally invasive surgery. 

Meet The Experts

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Alexander Rosemurgy

MD, FACS

Advanced Foregut & HPB Surgeon

Sharona Ross

MD, FACS

Advanced Foregut & HPB Surgeon

Sandra G. Freeman

ARNP-C

Nurse Practitioner

Dana Manzi

MSN, ARNP-BC

Nurse Practitioner

Cory O'Brien

MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Speech Pathologist

Betsy Prator

MSN, ARNP-BC

Nurse Practitioner

Dr. Cory O'Brien checking patient's throat at AdventHealth Digestive Health Institute Tampa.

Surgical Consultations For Digestive Cancer Without The Wait

Appointments Within 5 Days for Patients with Cancer

At AdventHealth Digestive Institute Tampa, we know that after being diagnosed with cancer, patients want and often need to begin treatment quickly. So we make it a priority to offer appointments for cancer surgery consultations within 5 business days, and often earlier. 

Patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer, or have just found out they have cancer recurrence, qualify for this priority access. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion. We want to help you start your treatment as soon as possible.

If you have been diagnosed with a cancer of the digestive system, don’t wait. 
Call the Digestive Health Institute at Call813-615-7557.

News and Info

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