Otolaryngology specialists are also known as ENT doctors. The initials stand for ear, nose, and throat. As the initials indicate, this specialty involves the diagnosis and treats medical problems concerning the head and throat. These doctors are also known as head and neck surgeons. This specialty is one of the most competitive in the United States. Otolaryngologists are expected to complete five years of surgical residency, and many complete another two years of specialized fellowship training in the fields of pediatric otolaryngology, laryngology, rhinology, neuro-otology facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, or head and neck oncology.
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An ear nose and throat doctor is who patients are referred to for a multitude of problems associated with the head andneck. Problems can be as innocuous as rhinitis or tonsillitis, or as serious as oral cancer, thyroid cancer, or skin cancer of the head and neck. An ENT often chooses to specialize in a specific field of otolaryngology because the entire field covers so many different issues.
Some ear nose and throat disorders are common and fairly easy to treat. Tonsillitis affects most adolescents and young adults at some point in their young life. The treatment has been to surgically remove the tonsils, a procedure known as a tonsillectomy. Surgery is now not as common, as the infections can now be treated. If the inflammation of the tonsils is extreme, causing issues with breathing or swallowing, then a tonsillectomy might be necessary.
Some other ear nose and throat disorders that are treated by an ENT are ear and sinus infections. These infections occur when germs, bacteria, or viruses invade the ear canal or nasal cavity. The infections are usually treated successfully with an antibiotic regimen. Ear infections in young children can cause delays in hearing and speech development. IN cases of chronic ear infections, surgery might be performed to insert small tubes into the ear. These tubes will eventually fall out as the child develops.
To find an ear nose and throat doctor, you should start by contacting your insurance company. They will have a list of all of the participating medical specialists in your area. More commonly, you will be referred to an Otolaryngologist by your family doctor. These referrals are made when the examination of the patient indicates a serious infection or other problem that cannot be treated with a simple prescription from the family doctor. Your doctors office can contact the insurance company for a list of specialists in the area, and then recommend one with which the office has a good relationship. Or, you can simply ask around. Most people have either seen such a doctor in the past, or know someone who has.
Most of these disorders can be prevented. Frequent hand washing is always a good way to prevent the spread of infections. Treating allergies, avoiding cigarette smoke, and keeping current with immunizations can help prevent ear infections. Sinus infections can be prevented with the use of a saline nasal spray at the onset of a cold. Sleep apnea, another disorder treated by an Otolaryngologist, can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol at night, and quitting smoking.
ENT specialists treat a wide range of disorders. Many of these are minor problems if caught quickly. Others require long term intensive medical care. Some disorders can be prevented. But others are inherited and must be managed. Following the recommendations of the doctor can help the patient live with the disorder. The most important step to disease prevention is hand washing. Proper handwashing will remove infectious germs from the hands, preventing the spread of the germs that cause diseases.