An ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT), also called an otolaryngologist, specializes in everything having to do with these three areas of the body. Some historians suggest this specialty is one of the oldest in the United States, coming about in the 1800s as doctors realized the ears, nose, and throat were interconnected systems that required specialized knowledge to treat properly.
At Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat, conveniently located in Surprise, Arizona, Dr. James Osborne and Dr. Bryan Smedley treat a variety of conditions affecting your head and neck with the latest procedures, medications, and services. Because many people don’t realize the scope of ENT practice, they’ve put together this guide to help you understand when and why you might need an ENT specialist.
What problems do otolaryngologists treat?
ENTs can perform medical, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgeries, and they treat a number of different medical conditions in the head and neck, such as:
- Ear conditions: include infections, hearing loss, and balance issues (inner ear)
- Nose and nasal conditions: include allergies, sinusitis, and growths (polyps)
- Throat problems: include tonsillitis, difficulty swallowing, and voice disorders
- Sleep issues: include snoring and obstructive sleep apnea
- Infections and tumors (benign or cancerous) of head or neck
- Pediatric problems: include difficulty breathing, ear infections, allergies, speech difficulties, and birth defects such as cleft lip or palate
Some areas of your head, though, are handled by other specialists. Neurologists, for example, treat problems of the brain and nervous system, while ophthalmologists treat vision and eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts.
Do all ENTs treat all the same problems?
All ENTs have at least some of the same training, which includes four years of medical school, then at least five years of special training, and finally a certification exam given by the American Board of Otolaryngology. Some ENTs choose to spend an extra 1-2 years exploring a subspecialty, such as the following:
- Allergy/Immunology: treat environmental allergies (e.g., pollen or pet dander) with medication or a series of shots called immunology, and food allergies
- Facial and reconstructive surgery: perform cosmetic surgery like face lifts and nose jobs, and reconstructive procedures following trauma or resulting from birth defect
- Head and neck: treat tumors in the nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, voice box, or upper esophagus
- Laryngology: treat diseases and injuries affecting the voice box (larynx) and vocal cords; diagnose and treat swallowing problems
- Otology and neurotology: treat all ear issues, including infections, hearing loss, dizziness, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Rhinology: treat the nose and sinuses for sinusitis, nose bleeds, loss of smell, stuffy nose, and unusual growths
Dr. Osborne performed a dual residency in otorhinolaryngology and facial plastic surgery, while Dr. Smedley secured a fellowship in osteopathic manual medicine (hands-on, noninvasive treatment for all bodily systems).
All ENTs, though, should be able to handle the most common conditions in all subspecialties. If they can’t, they’ll refer you to another ENT who can.
What types of treatment does Oasis ENT provide?
Treatments are, understandably, dependent on your diagnosis. When you come into our office for an evaluation, the doctor reviews your medical history and gets a complete account of the symptoms you’re experiencing. He might also need to perform imaging tests or get lab work to obtain additional information or rule out certain causes of the symptoms you display.
Once he’s confirmed your diagnosis, the doctor creates an individualized treatment plan using a single approach or a combination, whichever is more appropriate. We always start with conservative methods, only moving on to surgery when those techniques don’t work. Treatment options might include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Nasal saline spray
- Steroid nasal spray
- Oral medications
- Oral appliances
- Nasal implants
- Hearing aids and cochlear implants
- Balloon sinus dilation
- Endoscopic or other types of surgery
If you’re having a problem with your ears, nose, and/or throat, an ENT is the best place to start, and Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat offers a full spectrum of services. To learn more, or to set up an appointment with one of our doctors, call us at 623-234-4640, or book online. You’ve got problems, we have solutions.