Most commonly known as an ENT doctor, an otolaryngologist specializes in treating conditions that affect the ears, nose and throat. Some of the conditions an otolaryngologist specializes in include, hearing loss, ear infections, sinusitis, nasal obstructions and illnesses affecting the larynx. It is not uncommon for children to see an otolaryngologist. Many illnesses such as ear infections, throat infections and sinus issues are frequent problems among children, and it is usually in childhood that symptoms are realized. Some of the most common surgeries that are routinely performed on children include:
Adenoidectomy: This is a surgical procedure in which the adenoids are removed. Adenoids are small glands of tissue that you can slightly see above the roof of the mouth, behind the nose. They look like small lumps of tissue. They are part of the lymphatic system and help protect children from viruses and bacteria by catching germs before they can cause illness. However, adenoids can become enlarged as they battle these germs. Enlarged adenoids may interfere with breathing and sleeping and that’s when they become a problem. If soreness and symptoms are persistent, a doctor will most likely recommend an adenoidectomy.
Ear Tubes: A doctor will usually recommend ear tubes if a child has persistent ear infections that have not been able to be remedied with other treatments. During the procedure, very small ear tubes are placed in the child’s eardrum. The tubes allow ventilation to pass through the middle ear and prevent fluid backup, which is what causes the infection. Ear infections may seem routine among children, but if not treated, recurring ear infections can lead to hearing problems and speech delay.
Tympanoplasty: If a child has trouble hearing, a doctor may recommend a tympanoplasty. A tympanoplasty is a procedure that repairs a hole in the eardrum. The eardrum is a thin membrane deep in the ear canal. The eardrum vibrates when sound waves hit it and helps transfer sound energy into the inner ear which allows us to hear. A hearing test is conducted before the surgery to compare results before and after the surgery.
Cochlear Implantation: For severe hearing loss a doctor may recommend cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that electronically stimulates the cochlear nerve – the nerve for hearing. The cochlear implant is different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds. Cochlear implants generate signals that are sent via the cochlear nerve to the brain, which translates the signals as sound.
If you are considering an ear, nose or throat surgery for your child, contact the Surgery Center of Fort Collins for more information. We do perform such procedures for patients, and they are often more affordable and less stressful to have done at our ambulatory surgery center as opposed to a hospital setting. Call 970-821-8634 for more information or to schedule an appointment.