Health care

What does an Otolaryngologist Do Exactly?

4/07/2016 John Evans 0 Comments

A New Jersey Otolaryngologist is actually a physician.  The difference in this type of doctor and your normal physician, however, is that they treat and manage diseases and disorder found in the ear, nose, throat, and other related bodily structures in that region.  This type of physician is commonly referred to as an ear, nose and throat doctor, or ENT.  They typically provide both medical and surgical types of care.  Otolaryngology has actually been named the oldest of all medical specialty’s in the United States of America by the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.  In 2010, it was estimated that around twenty million visits to Otolaryngologists not federally employed were made.  Most of these visits were actually made by adults.  Problems with hearing, ear pain, ear infection, or nasal congestion were cited as the most common reasons patients sought out an ENT. 

So, what do they Treat? 

            Otolaryngologists actually provide care for a large variety of different conditions.  They use both surgical and medical skills in order to provide their patients with excellent quality care.  They typically have a thorough understanding of medical science as it relates to the head, neck, respiratory, and upper alimentary systems of the body.  There are some common conditions treated by otolaryngologists.  While these are not all the conditions that they treat, this gives a pretty clear picture of the kind of things they deal with.  

            One thing they commonly treat is problems with an individual’s airway. Difficulties breathing can range from mild to deadly and can have numerous underlying causes.  They also commonly treat cancer in found in the head and/or neck.  The majority of these types of cancers are one hundred percent preventable.  Chronic sinusitis is a condition that involves the inflammation and swelling within the nasal passageways.  This condition also includes a buildup of mucus and can make breathing through your nose very difficult.  It can be caused by infect or by the polyps growing within the nose or deviated septum.

            If a split in the oral structure where the lip and/or palate failed to fuse together during the time in which the fetus was developing, a cleft lip/palate occurs.  Clefts can differ in the size.  Some only cause minor problems, while others make eating, breathing, and even speaking very difficult.  The wall that divides the nasal cavities into two is known as the septum.  If it drastically moves from the midline it is known as a deviated septum and can cause problems breathing and/or cause the occurrence of chronic sinusitis.  Diabetes, stroke, and tumors can all cause drooping eyelids, or when the upper eyelid excessively sags.  ENT’s treat these conditions along with hearing loss, infected tonsils, infected adenoids, and problems swallowing. 

What Types of Procedures Do They Handle?

            Otolaryngologists have to perform a number of procedures that coincide with the large number of conditions they are responsible for treating.  Procedures, like conditions, range in how complicated they are.  Here are some of the most common procedures ENT’s must perform.

            One procedure that the perform is a Blepharoplasty.  This is when they go in and remove excess skin, muscle, and or fat in order to repair droopy eyelids.  Usually, this procedure is carved out in an outpatient setting for cosmetic purposes.  Another common procedure is the endoscopic sinus surgery.  This procedure is usually performed to correct inflammatory sinus diseases.  The Otolaryngologist inserts an endoscope into the nose of the individual.  This allows them to look at that person’s sinuses.  Then they insert surgical instruments (like lasers) and remove any material that is blocking the sinuses.  This procedure is performed both locally and under anesthetics, depending on the location and setting of the ENT.  These physicians also perform excisions and biopsies.  Biopsies are done in order to allow the ENT to identify any suspicious lesion and/or tumor.  Identification of these things is essential in order for the correct course of treatment to be put an order.  An excision, or removal, of small lesions and skin cancers is often done under local anesthetics and conducted in an outpatient setting.  

            Otolaryngologists also commonly perform plastic surgery on the face.  These surgeries are done either for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes.  They also do what is called a neck dissection.  This is a major surgery in which the lymph nodes of an individual’s neck are removed.  They also conduct surgery to help correct snoring or cure obstructive sleep apnea.  They go inand remove any extra soft palate tissue in order for the airway to be opened up.  They can also might use thermal ablation to reduce the amount of tissue blocking the airway.  Other common procedures are thyroid surgery, tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy.