Otorhinolaryngology is a branch of medicine that specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ear, nose and throat (ENT). About 15% of all patients seek ENT care.
ENT is essential because the mucous membrane of the nose, nasopharynx and ear performs a barrier function (protection from harmful viruses and bacteria, as well as from damaging environmental factors - noise, cold, allergens). Often diseases of the ear, throat and nose are complications of past infections and develop against a background of weakened immunity.
Otorhinolaryngology disorders are dangerous as they connect with other organs and systems of the body. Such diseases in the upper respiratory tract can move further and give severe complications in the form of meningitis, encephalitis, pneumonia, bronchitis and others.
Nasal obstruction can cause headaches, asthma attacks, and other serious problems. Other illnesses also affect the ear, throat and nose. Thus, hypertension, neuroma, and atherosclerosis can damage hearing and vestibular function (balance). Infectious diseases (flu, rotavirus, diphtheria, scarlet fever) lead to angina. Aortic aneurysm, tumours, and bronchitis can provoke hoarseness, paralysis of the larynx, and even swallowing difficulties.
ENT doctors deal with infections, injuries, allergies, tumours, developmental anomalies, and plastic surgery (cosmetic or reconstructive). For example:
- Ear: meningitis (inflammation of the eardrum), neurinoma (tumour of the auditory nerve), tinnitus (hearing loss), otitis media, narrowing of the ear canal, hearing loss and others.
- Throat: tonsillitis, tonsillitis, stenosis of the larynx, laryngitis, pharyngitis, dysphonia, etc.
- Nose: snoring, rhinitis, sinusitis, polyps, nasal septal injuries, nosebleeds.
It's necessary to make an appointment with an otolaryngologist if you have:
- Snoring in sleep;
- Voice changes (hoarseness, nasality);
- Systematic colds (more than four times a year);
- Suspected loss of hearing or sense of smell;
- Chronic diseases (sinusitis, otitis media, chronic cough or rhinitis).
Common ENT symptoms
Each of the numerous diseases of the ENT organs has its symptoms and clinical picture. Warning signs that indicate the otorhinolaryngological problems:
- Runny nose;
- Ear congestion;
- Vertigo or dizziness;
- Snoring or sleep apnea;
- Foreign bodies in the throat, ear, and nose;
- Noise or ringing in the ear (tinnitus);
- Complicated breathing through the nose;
- Cough (prolonged or persistent);
- Decreased or absent hearing, taste, and smell;
- A true story or discharge from the ear or nose;
- A deviated septum that interferes with breathing.
Diagnostic tests in otolaryngology
Among the standard methods of examination in otorhinolaryngology are used:
- Laboratory tests;
- Ultrasound and x-ray;
- Visual inspection of the organ with the help of special devices;
- CT and MRI give a clear image of organ tissue and show the presence of fluid or pus, growths or injuries.
In addition to the above methods, each organ has specific diagnostic procedures.
Hearing and ear examination:
- Otoscopy evaluates the external auditory canal and eardrum using an otoscope (a medical device with a flashlight and a magnifying glass).
- Audiometry tests hearing acuity using headphones and sounds of varying intensity.
- Impedancemetry estimates hearing and reveal the location and nature of hearing loss.
- Tympanometry examines the eardrum, its elasticity and integrity.
- Ultrasound of the space around the ear reveals bumps and enlarged lymph nodes.
Diagnosis of the throat and nasopharynx:
- Pharyngoscopy is an examination of the pharynx, tonsils and mucous membranes.
- Laryngoscopy examines the larynx and vocal cords using a laryngoscope (a unique medical device).
- Endoscopy of the larynx and nasopharynx is a modern diagnostic method in which an endoscope (a flexible thin tube with a camera) is inserted through the mouth, and the doctor examines high-quality images.
Diagnostic options for the nose:
- Rhinoscopy examines the nasal bands, septum, and sinuses using mirrors and is helpful in that it can detect many abnormalities.
- X-rays usually show the sinuses and the presence of fluid or pus inside.
- The puncture of the sinuses of the nose is both a diagnostic and therapeutic approach. The doctor removes the sinus contents (for sinusitis) and gives them to the laboratory for testing.
- Endoscopy of the nasal passages evaluates the nature of the mucous membrane and reveals polyps.
- Ultrasound of the sinuses shows inflammation, accumulations of fluid or pus, polyps and tumours of the nose.
The most crucial task in treating ENT diseases is to prevent the transition of the disease into a chronic form. Modern otorhinolaryngology uses many treatment methods, from medication and physiotherapy to corrective surgery and plastic operations. In addition, doctors actively use minimally invasive laser and endoscopic surgical procedures.
Treatment in each case of an ENT condition is individual and depends on the disease and its severity. Drug therapy involves the use of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory antihistamines and hormones. If the pills are ineffective, doctors recommend surgery. ENT surgeries are performed for medical reasons and cosmetic reasons. The most frequent are removal operations (tonsillectomy - removal of the tonsils, polypectomy - removal of the polyps, etc.).
One of the most common otolaryngology conditions is nasal septum deviation. Difficulty breathing decreased sense of smell, and snoring may indicate a problem. All this significantly impairs the quality of life. To correct the situation help the operation - septoplasty. Doctors also perform rhinoplasty (nose correction), vocal cord surgery, tympanoplasty, installation of cochlear implants and more. Other specific and common treatment options are:
- Washing the tonsils, sinuses, and ear canal remove the fluid, pus and auditory plugs.
- Nasal packing to stop bleeding.
- Puncture of the nasal sinuses.
- Massage of the tympanic membrane for the treatment of acute otitis media.
Physiotherapy techniques are used as an addition to the primary treatment and significantly increase the effectiveness. These include electrophoresis, magnetotherapy, laser therapy, ozone therapy, and ultraviolet radiation.
What is the advantage of otolaryngology abroad?
Most patients with ENT diseases choose treatment abroad because of the clear benefits:
- Modern methods of treatment at an affordable price. In addition to quality care, patients are looking for reasonably priced medical services. In different countries, savings range from 30 to 80%.
- Highly professional specialists. Many doctors are certified and undergo training in several countries. Also, doctors with many years of experience usually take patients from abroad.
- Certified clinics. Many hospitals abroad are accredited by well-known international organizations for medical care and service quality standards.
- Latest technologies. Hospitals abroad are equipped with high-precision tools. The latest international techniques and devices are produced by well-known companies in Germany, Japan and the USA.
What is modern ENT treatment available?
Modern treatment options in TOP hospitals include many techniques and combinations (medications, punctures, laser operations, endoscopic operations). Surgical methods are more common in the treatment of ENT organs. To replace the affected organ, otorhinolaryngologists put a replacement (for example, hearing implants).
Why can otolaryngology abroad be better?
Yes. Patients are treated for otorhinolaryngology abroad because they are interested in quality, cost-effective medical care with minimal waiting times.
Can I have tinnitus treatment abroad?
Yes. Patients with tinnitus prefer treatment abroad, in specialized ENT hospitals, including tinnitus centres. These clinics use the latest infusion therapies and cochlear implants, which combine modern acoustic technology and reduce dizziness.
How to find a good ENT clinic?
Patients are recommended to check the AiroMedical searching system to select the proper hospital. Good ENT clinics are leading centres with extensive experience in treating otorhinolaryngological diseases. Such clinics receive funding for research and search for modern therapies. So patients can participate in clinical trials.
Why do patients travel abroad for otolaryngology services?
Patients turn to ENT hospitals abroad because of the high level of service, many years of experience and professionalism of doctors, and modern (often less invasive) methods.
What are the best clinics for Otolaryngology (ENT)?
Who are the best doctors for Otolaryngology (ENT)?
Prof. Dr. med. Barbara Wollenberg from University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich
Prof. Dr. Jordi Coromina from Teknon Medical Centre Barcelona
Prof. Dr. med. Markus Suckfull from Academic Hospital Martha-Maria Munich
Prof. Dr. med. Markus Jungehulsing from MEOCLINIC Berlin
Prof. Dr. Sami Katircioglu from Memorial Sisli Hospital Istanbul