Otolaryngology (ENT)

What is Otolaryngology (ENT)?

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 performed by the ENT doctors at Memorial Hermann Surgical Hospital First Colony are tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies, bilateral myringotomy pressure equalizing tubes (BMT), septoplasty, and endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS).

What is a Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy?

A tonsillectomy is the removal of the tonsils. This procedure may be recommended if at least one of the following criteria is present:

  • At least four to six severe tonsillitis infections in the past year
  • Two to three tonsillitis infections per year for more than two years
  • Enlarged tonsils that cause severe trouble breathing or sleep disturbance
  • Deep pockets of infection in the tonsils that haven’t responded to medication.

An adenoidectomy is the removal of the adenoids. This procedure may be recommended if at least one of the following criteria is present:

  1. The enlarged adenoids are obstructing the airway (causing troubled breathing and sleep disturbance).
  2. The adenoids may be causing persistent ear infections despite antibiotic treatment.

If both criteria are met, the doctor may recommend taking both out at the same time, eliminating a second surgery later. For either surgery or the combined procedure, the patient will be under anesthesia and unconscious.

What is a BMT?

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.

Your Tonsillectomy, Adenoidectomy, and BMT

Most tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy and BMT surgeries are performed on children. Memorial Hermann Surgical Hospital First Colony takes special care to make you and your child feel comfortable before, during, and after the procedure. When you arrive at the outpatient surgery department of the hospital, you will check-in, and our specially trained nurses will prepare you and your child for surgery. The procedure usually takes only 30 minutes. Once your child is back in the recovery area and awake, one family member will be able to go to the recovery area and be with the child.

What is a Septoplasty?

A septoplasty is the repair of a deviated septum. Your septum may have deviated at birth, can grow to one side or another during childhood, or can occur due to an injury. Surgery to straighten the septum can be done in conjunction with other procedures to treat chronic sinusitis, inflammation or bleeding, or to correct sleep apnea. The surgery is performed using an endoscope, which results in no external scarring.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery/Balloon Sinuplasty

Endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) is a procedure to open the sinus to relieve pressure and infection. There are several 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 fiberoptic 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.

Other Procedures

The procedures outlined above are the most common ENT surgeries performed at Memorial Hermann Surgical Hospital First Colony. If you would like more information about these or any other ENT procedure, please contact the hospital at (281) 243-1000.

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