ENT surgeons or otolaryngologists specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the head and neck, specifically the ears, nose and throat. There are many aspects covered by an ENT Surgeon such as helping patients recover or manage diseases affecting their hearing and balance, or treat infections of the throat that affect speech and eating. Some ENT surgeons also deal with cancers in these parts of the body or undertake plastic reconstructive surgery of the face.
Most of the conditions do not require surgery, being treated with medication.
ENT surgeons use many different surgical procedures including:
- Insertion of grommets for glue ear – this involves a very small incision in the ear drum and is typically carried out on children. The grommets help to ventilate the middle ear and resolve middle ear effusions
- Tonsillectomy (removal of tonsils) or adenoidectomy (removal of adenoids), most often in children
- Septoplasty – correction of nasal septum to prevent obstruction and enable clear breathing
- Microlaryngoscopy – a short metal tube (laryngoscope) is inserted into the larynx (voice box). This is used for examination and can also be used to perform a biopsy or surgery
- Oesophagoscopy – a long metal or flexible tube (oesophagoscope) is inserted through the mouth into the oesophagus
- Endoscopic sinus surgery – a tiny telescope is inserted into the nasal passages to diagnose and treat difficult sinus conditions. Technically refined instruments are then used to restore proper function
- Tympanomastoid surgery to reconstruct and remove epithelial inclusions (cholesteatoma) within the middle ear
- Open operations to remove neck lumps, and salivary gland tumours
ENT surgery has been at the forefront of the latest medical technologies and minimally invasive procedures are common. This has many benefits including less scarring and shorter recovery periods for patients.