Ear, Nose & Throat Care
Wellstar otolaryngologists diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat as well as related structures of the head and neck in children and adults. These can include sinuses, voice box and mouth.
Wellstar otolaryngologists help patients with a range of ear, nose, and throat conditions. From hearing and balance to snoring and sinuses, our doctors provide medical and surgical solutions. We also care for pediatric patients with speech difficulties and congenital disabilities in the head and neck.
Our doctors have extensive experience with the latest surgical techniques, including image-guided sinus surgery, sleep disorder surgery, corrective breathing surgery, reconstructive ear surgery, and tonsil removal.
What we treat
Wellstar ENT physicians diagnose and treat a wide-range of diseases including, but not limited to:
- Hearing loss
- Ear infections, such as mastoiditis
- Perforation of the ear drum
- Nasal growths
- Sleep apnea
- Diseases and cancers of the head or neck regions
- Voice issues
- Infections or tumors
ENT surgeons also specialize in reconstructive surgery of the head and neck and endocrine disorders. Other commonly performed ENT surgeries include tonsillectomy, myringotomy, septoplasty and rhinoplasty, and sinus surgery.
While not performed as frequently as in the past, a tonsillectomy, the surgical removal of the tonsils at the back of the throat, is an operation to treat persistent tonsillar infections. Enlarged tonsils are sometimes removed to treat sleep disorders.
There are a variety of techniques used to remove the tonsils. The most common is called cold knife dissection in which the surgeon uses a scalpel while the patient is asleep under general anesthesia.
There are some risks associated with a tonsillectomy. The risks, while rare, include:
- Adverse reactions to anesthetics
- Swelling of the tongue and soft palate that may cause breathing problems shortly after surgery
- Bleeding during healing
Children with frequent and persistent ear infections are at risk of hearing loss, delayed speech development and behavioral problems. Installation of ear tubes by myringotomy can prevent the ear infections that cumulatively do long-term damage.
An estimated 500,000 ear tube procedures are done each year, making it the most common childhood surgery performed under anesthesia. Once the child is unconscious, an incision is made in the eardrum, using a scalpel or laser. Tiny metal or plastic tubes—about the size of a grain of rice—are placed in the eardrum to provide ventilation. The procedure takes less than 20 minutes. Some tubes are designed to stay in the ear six to 12 months before falling out on their own. Long-term tubes are longer and designed to remain in place until removed by an ENT physician.
Ear tube placement is expected to lead to fewer ear infections, better hearing, better speech and improved sleeping patterns.
There are some risks associated with myringotomy. The risks, while rare, include:
- Continuing drainage of fluid
- Tearing of the eardrum
Septoplasty is a surgical procedure performed through the nostrils to correct a deviated septum. The nasal septum is a wall of bone, cartilage and mucous membrane that divides your nostrils. A septum that is off-center, or deviated, can cause difficulty to breathing through the nose and cause frequent sinus infections.
A septoplasty, typically done on an outpatient basis, is sometimes performed in conjunction with a rhinoplasty, a cosmetic surgery to alter the appearance of the nose.
While rare, there are some risks associated with septoplasty. The risks include:
- Change in the shape of your nose
- Damage to septum
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Wellstar surgeons use functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) to treat diseases of the nose and paranasal sinuses. For many patients suffering from blocked nasal sinuses, FESS represents a superior alternative to medicinal treatments. At Wellstar, some ENT surgeons use a newer technique that involves inserting a small, flexible balloon to enlarge sinus passageways. Balloon sinuplasty is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, and is a less invasive option compared to FESS, since the sinus bones are reshaped rather than removed.