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Common ENT Questions

What are some of the disorders and diseases that ear, nose, throat doctors treat?

Treating nasal cavity and sinus issues is one of the primary skills of ENT doctors. We also treat diseases of the throat, larynx—more commonly known as the voice box—and the upper esophagus, including voice and swallowing disorders. These issues can affect speaking, singing, eating and the sense of smell. The head and neck also house functions associated with sight and the cosmetic appearance of the face so ENT’s are trained to treat infections, both noncancerous and cancerous tumors and facial trauma and deformities of the face, and we perform both cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgery.

How common are these disorders/diseases?

Very common. They are probably ranked among one of the top illnesses that people have to face. For example About 35 million people develop chronic sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health complaints.

What is chronic sinusitis and how is it treated?

Chronic sinusitis is sinus inflammation that lasts more than three months. It can interfere with mucus drainage and make breathing through the nose difficult. It also leads to swelling, pain and tenderness around the eyes and face. Causes include infections, allergies, structural issues, and growths in the sinuses called nasal polyps or a deviated nasal septum. In some rare cases, the infection can spread into the brain and be fatal. It’s not helped with medication, so surgery is required to allow for adequate ventilation of the sinuses.

When should someone see an ENT?

Your general practitioner should be able to take care of minor conditions that last less than three weeks. But an issue lasting longer than that is a sign of a possible chronic condition, which should then be treated by an ENT. Also, see an ENT as soon as possible if you experience symptoms of sinus problem that affect your vision or make you feel exceptionally lethargic, as this may be a sign that your brain is being affected.

Why is it important to have a trained specialist operating on these parts of the head in particular?

Surgeries performed by an ENT are very delicate. Locations that are operated on are usually in close proximity to the brain and in areas that control your senses. Mistakes in these surgeries can be devastating to a person’s quality and quantity of life. It is important to choose the right physician. A good starting point is to look for someone who is Board Certified and fellowship trained in the specialty. Also, the more a physician performs a particular surgery, the outcomes greatly improve. Data also suggest that hospitals, like Saint Barnabas Medical Center, who do high volumes of these surgeries, get better results.

What is the Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer Institute Saint Barnabas Medical Center?

We provide a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to care. We hold bi-weekly meetings to review and discuss the treatment plans for our thyroid, head and neck cancer patients. These meetings, representing a multitude of specialties, will provide a therapeutic regimen tailored to our patient's individualized needs. Depending on the patient's condition, we are able to make the best choices for the patient. We have the experience and technology right here in New Jersey, which our patients find convenient and are very happy with the results.

What about the collaboration with Saint Barnabas Medical Center and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey? Why is the collaboration so important for advancing care?

Whenever you are dealing with cancer it’s vital to have a multi-disciplinary approach. You need all the different pieces of the puzzle to make the best decisions. And you need to be aware of what’s happening with the latest research to provide your patients with the best care. Saint Barnabas Medical Center has always provided extraordinary clinical care. But now, through the partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, we can bring the latest research and clinical trials directly to our patients and deliver the best possible treatment available.