Head and neck ailments and injuries are common in today's world. It is the ENT surgeon who is trained to diagnose and treat such problems. Standing for ear, nose and throat, the term ENT is misleading when considering that these doctors, known professionally as otolaryngologists, are actually involved in a wide variety of medical services. Otolaryngology is the oldest medical specialty in the United States. ENT surgeons who practice in this country are today required to complete at least five years of residency work beyond their regular medical training. Additionally, they must pass an examination authorized by the American Board of Otolaryngology.
Starting from the bottom of the neck and going up, ENT surgeons deal with such issues as diseases in the gullet or voice box. Concerning the nose, they are concerned with conditions ranging from allergies to nasal obstructions. In terms of the auditory system, they may have to deal with ear infections, hearing loss and even balance disorders. Elsewhere in the head and neck, ENT surgeons have expertise in the treatment of tumors, facial injuries and physical deformities. Pediatric otolaryngology is a division of the specialty that is dedicated to helping children with the same disorders, including deformities present at the time of birth. Although otolaryngologists may use different methods, including medications, their emphasis is in surgical treatment of health disorders, whether it be cosmetic or reconstructive in nature.
In terms of specific treatments, one relatively common ENT procedure involves the removal of small bones or excessive tissue in the nasal cavity, which can cause breathing difficulties, and rhinoplasty, which is primarily a cosmetic procedure designed to improve the shape of the nose. A delicate procedure employed by an otolaryngologist may involve the removal of a bone that has grown abnormally in the ear, leading to an annoying ringing sound. When dealing with tumors, they may find themselves encountering growths that are either benign or cancerous.
Many of the health problems that ENT surgeons deal with might be treatable by primary care physicians. However, anyone who has suffered a serious injury or is experiencing a chronic condition should consider turning to the services of an ENT specialist.