My Blog
By Otolaryngology Plastic Surgery Associates
September 02, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Tonsillitis   Tonsillectomy  
TonsillectomyThe tonsils are two small glands that are found in the back of the throat. They are our body’s first defenses against harmful bacteria and other foreign invaders; however, sometimes even the tonsils can become inflamed and infected. This condition is known as tonsillitis. While dealing with tonsillitis doesn’t require having your tonsils removed, your ENT doctor may recommend getting a tonsillectomy if:
  • You are dealing with seven or more tonsil infections in just one year
  • You have more than five tonsil infections a year for two years in a row
  • You have three infections per year for three years in a row
  • Your infected tonsils are not responding to antibiotics
  • You’re dealing with enlarged tonsils (this can also cause obstructive sleep apnea and issues with breathing while sleeping)
If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to speak with a qualified ENT doctor to find out whether it’s time to consider a tonsillectomy. For many adults, a tonsillectomy is recommended when sleep is affected by inflamed or enlarged tonsils.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Wondering if you or your child is dealing with a case of tonsillitis? It’s possible if these symptoms appear:
  • A severe sore throat
  • White or yellow patches on the throat and tonsils
  • Swollen, inflamed tonsils
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pain or trouble swallowing
  • Fever
What should I expect from a tonsillectomy?

This procedure is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia, so you or your child will not be awake during the procedure; however, this is a minor procedure, so patients can go home the very same day. A tonsillectomy takes anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour and the area does not require stitches.

After a tonsillectomy, it is important to take ample time to rest and recover, which can take up to one week before returning to normal activities and up to two weeks before returning to physical activity. Your otolaryngologist will provide you with detailed recovery instructions to follow after your surgery.

If your child is dealing with persistent and severe tonsillitis, or if you’re dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, it’s important to consult with your ENT specialist to find out if you or your child’s tonsils need to be removed. Schedule an evaluation today.
By Otolaryngology Plastic Surgery Associates
August 19, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Tinnitus   Whizzing sound  
Ears Keep RingingIf you’ve ever been to a loud concert then chances are good that you’ve dealt with ear ringing afterward; however, if you’re experiencing ringing in the ears regularly and symptoms seem to appear out of the blue, then you could have a condition known as tinnitus.

Tinnitus is the result of damage to hair cells within the inner ear. Tinnitus is most often characterized as a ringing in the ear, but others may hear a clicking, hissing, or whizzing sound. You may hear it in one ear or both and sometimes it can be loud.

While tinnitus isn’t dangerous it can certainly be annoying, especially if it’s loud or happening regularly. If symptoms are severe it may even affect your quality of life.

What causes tinnitus?

Along with exposure to loud noises (often from occupations in the construction or music industries), there are other causes of tinnitus including:
  • A head injury
  • Impacted wax or wax buildup
  • Caffeine
  • Meniere’s disease (a condition of the inner ear)
  • Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics; medication for blood pressure)
Can tinnitus be cured?

If tinnitus is the result of something simple like caffeine or impacted wax, then simply remove the wax or eliminate caffeine from your diet. Sometimes tinnitus will simply go away on its own.

Even though there isn’t anything that can cure tinnitus, your ENT doctor can provide you with a variety of treatment options to make living with tinnitus easier, such as:
  • Adding white noise to your room (e.g. turning on a fan)
  • Altering your medication (if medication is causing your symptoms, talk with your doctor before stopping or replacing medication)
  • Wearing a hearing aid
  • Trying acupuncture or alternative treatments, which may also provide relief
  • Wearing earplugs to protect your hearing from further noise exposure, especially when operating loud machines (e.g. lawnmower; blender)
  • Keeping your ears clean and seeing your doctor regularly if you are prone to ear wax impaction
When should I see a doctor?

If you are experiencing ringing ears that persist for weeks, then it’s time to see a doctor for an evaluation. If you also experience dizziness or hearing loss in one or both ears this could be a symptom of Meniere’s disease, and you should see your doctor right away.

If you are concerned about ringing ears, dizziness, or other problems affecting your ear health, then call an ENT specialist to find out what’s going on and how to best treat it.
By Otolaryngology Plastic Surgery Associates
August 03, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Eustachian Tube DysfunctionThe eustachian tube is a narrow canal that runs from the throat to the middle ear, and it is responsible for regulating pressure within the middle ear. If you’ve ever yawned and felt your ears become “unplugged” then you’ve experienced the Eustachian tube at work. However, sometimes people can deal with eustachian tube dysfunction, which can affect the pressure in the ears. Those with eustachian tube dysfunction may experience:
  • Pressure or fullness in the ears
  • Muffled hearing
  • Pain in the ears
  • Ringing in the ears (known as tinnitus)
  • Issues with balance
  • A popping or clicking sensation in the ears
Sometimes these symptoms are exacerbated by altitude changes such as flying or riding in an elevator.

Children are often more at risk for developing Eustachian tube dysfunction because these tubes are shorter than they are in adults. This means that it’s easier for bacteria or fluid to get trapped within the middle ear. The good news is that these symptoms usually go away on their own and typically without treatment. There are things you can do such as chewing gum to help make the issue go away. If the problem persists then it’s time to see an otolaryngologist.

Once your ENT doctor has conducted a thorough examination of you or your child’s ears there are several approaches for alleviating the symptoms of eustachian tube dysfunction:
  • If Eustachian tube dysfunction is due to an allergic reaction then your doctor may prescribe decongestants or antihistamines, which can reduce swelling and target the body’s response to the allergen.
  • A minor procedure can be performed in which an otolaryngologist makes a small incision in the eardrum to remove the fluid that’s trapped in the middle ear. The eardrum will then heal in a couple of days.
  • Sometimes implants are placed into the eardrums to help drain the fluid and to prevent fluid from building up. This is a recommended treatment for children who develop frequent ear infections due to eustachian tube dysfunction.
  • A special balloon catheter procedure (similar to the one used to treat chronic sinusitis) can be directed into the nose and into the eustachian tube, where it opens up the tubes to help them drain properly.
Your ENT doctor can talk to you about the different options for helping you or your child deal with eustachian tube dysfunction. While this condition is often self-limiting and will usually go away on its own. If symptoms become severe or problematic then it’s time to see a qualified medical professional.
By Otolaryngology Plastic Surgery Associates
July 17, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Ear Tube Surgery  
Ear Tube SurgeryMiddle ear infections (known as otitis media) are quite common in young children, and while they are usually nothing to worry about it, it can become a problem if your child is dealing with frequent ear infections. If your child has the occasional ear infection, then you probably won’t need to consider ear tube surgery; usually, your otolaryngologist can treat the problem through antibiotics or other types of non-surgical procedures. While ear tube surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed on children each year, having a couple of ear infections throughout the year usually isn’t enough to warrant surgery.

You may want to speak with an ENT specialist about the benefits of ear tube surgery if your child has experienced at least three ear infections within the last six months. Also, if your child is dealing with muffled hearing or any hearing loss due to fluid build-up in the middle ear, then ear tubes may be beneficial. It's important to treat this quickly, as hearing problems can delay speech. Another situation that may warrant this surgery is if your child has a collapsing eardrum (known as atelectasis).

Your doctor can tell you whether or not your child could benefit from ear tube surgery. The purpose of the procedure is to place ear tubes into the ears to drain the fluid from the middle ear. This will serve two purposes:
  • To prevent future ear infections (or, at the very least, make future infections milder)
  • To improve hearing in your child
This procedure is performed by a qualified ear, nose, and throat surgeon and is performed under general anesthesia (this means your child will be asleep during the procedure). The surgery is fairly simple: a small hole is made in each eardrum to help drain the fluid. Then, once the fluid is properly drained, the surgeon will place these small tubes into the holes of the eardrums so that any fluid continues to drain properly. The surgery itself only takes about 10 to 15 minutes and children can get home the very same day.

Ear tubes typically stay in the eardrums for about 18 months, depending on the type of tube that was placed; however, if the ear tubes do not fall out on their own within a couple of years then an ENT surgeon may need to surgically remove them.

If your child is dealing with severe and recurring ear infections, you must see an ENT doctor right away to find out what’s going on and to make sure that they are getting the treatment they need. Ear tube surgery isn’t for every child, so talk with your qualified medical provider before deciding whether this is the right decision.
By Otolaryngology Plastic Surgery Associates
June 24, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Throat Cancer  
Throat CancerYour ENT doctor sees, diagnoses, and treats many conditions related to the ear, nose, and throat. One of the most worrisome is throat cancer, along with malignancies of the pharynx, tonsils, and larynx. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America reports that the incidence of throat cancer increases with age (65 and older) and gender (male). As with most cancers, early recognition of symptoms, a proper diagnosis, and the right treatment are the keys to recovery.
 
Signs of throat cancer
The American Cancer Society says a persistent sore throat--one lasting two weeks or more--is a danger sign you should report to your primary care physician or otolaryngologist right away. Other signs of malignancy include:
  • A continuing cough
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Unexplained and significant weight loss
  • Trouble swallowing easily (dysphagia)
  • Pain in the jaw or ear
  • White or red patches or sores in the mouth which do not heal
  • Nose bleeds
  • Headaches
  • Swollen tissues anywhere in the head/neck area
  • Numbness in the mouth and especially the tongue
  • Continual nasal congestion
Sadly, untreated throat cancer spreads to other parts of the body, including the lips, lungs, and bones. More severe symptoms, such as bone pain or coughing up blood, can indicate metastasis of throat cancer.
 
Risk factors and prevention
Many throat cancers can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle risk factors include:
  • Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (more than two drinks daily if you a man and more than one a day for women)
  • HPV exposure (Human Papilloma Virus) through oral sex
  • A diet low in vegetables and fruit
  • GERD, or acid reflux disease, in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus
  • Trouble with breathing and speaking
  • Headaches
To minimize your risk, your physician may recommend smoking cessation, losing weight to avoid GERD, a diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables, and less alcohol. Asbestos exposure poses a cancer risk. Additionally, your dentist helps with early detection as he or she checks you for oral cancer with each routine office visit.

How to beat it
The American Cancer Society reports that about 12,000 people in the United States receive a throat cancer diagnosis annually. Five-year survival rates improve with early staging. See your doctor right away if you exhibit these concerning symptoms. Live longer, and live well.




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