Otolaryngology, often referred to as Ear, Nose, and Throat or “ENT,” is the branch of medicine and surgery that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the head and neck.
The most common procedures and treatments performed by the Otolaryngologists at Memorial Hermann Surgery Center The Woodlands are ear tubes, tonsillectomies, sinus surgeries, and navigated sinus surgeries.
Ear Tubes: Bilateral myringotomy pressure equalizing tubes (BMT) is commonly referred to as “ear tubes.” An ear tube is a plastic, hollow spool. Physicians may suggest tubes for children who have repeat ear infections or when fluid stays behind the eardrum. The ENT doctor places the tubes through a small surgical opening made in the eardrum. The child is under anesthesia for this surgery.
Tonsillectomies: Tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils. A tonsillectomy is a common procedure to treat infection and inflammation of the tonsils (tonsillitis), and is also performed for sleep-disordered breathing. A tonsillectomy may also be necessary to treat day-to-day breathing and other problems related to enlarged tonsils, and to treat rare diseases of the tonsils.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery/Balloon Sinuplasty: Endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) is a procedure to open the sinus to relieve pressure and infection. There are a number of different approaches to sinus surgery. ESS involves the insertion of the endoscope, a very thin fiber-optic tube, into the nose for a direct visual examination of the openings into the sinuses. With advanced micro-telescopes and instruments, abnormal and obstructive tissues are then removed. In the majority of cases, the surgical procedure is performed entirely through the nostrils, leaving no external scars. There is usually minimal swelling and only mild discomfort.
Balloon sinuplasty is a procedure used to enlarge and open the small drainage passages into the sinuses. A small fiber optic fiber is inserted into the targeted sinus, and the location is verified. A balloon is advanced over the fiber and expanded to enlarge the opening. The fiber and balloon are then removed, and the opening remains enlarged. This procedure is associated with less bleeding and less discomfort. It can be used in appropriate cases, not requiring ESS.
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