What is an ENT specialist?

ear-nose-and-throat-diagramAn ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) is a physician trained in the medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck. They have special expertise in managing diseases of the ears, nose and nasal passage, sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face.

An ENT specialist may work with a team of doctors in other medical and surgical specialities. Common ground is shared with neurosurgery in treating skull base disorders; plastic surgery in correcting cosmetic and traumatic deformities; ophthalmology in treating structural abnormalities near the eye; oral surgery in treating jaw and dental trauma; allergy in managing sinus disease; dermatology in caring for skin cancers; oncology in managing head and neck cancers; and paediatrics and family practice in caring for common infectious, congenital, traumatic, and malignant (cancerous) diseases and disorders in the paediatric and general population.

The Ear
The unique domain of the ear, nose and throat specialist is treatment of ear disorders. This includes medical and surgical treatment for hearing disorders, ear infections, balance disorders, facial nerve or cranial nerve disorders, as well as management of congenital (birth) and cancerous disorders of the outer and inner ear. Click here to read about grommets.

The Nose
Care of the nasal cavity and sinuses is one of the primary skills of the ENT specialist. Management of disorders of the nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, allergies, sense of smell, and nasal respiration (breathing), as well as the external appearance of the nose are part of an ENT’s area of expertise.

The Throat and Neck
In the head and neck area, an ENT specialist is trained to treat infectious diseases, tumours (both benign and malignant/cancerous), facial trauma, and deformities of the face. They perform both cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgery. Click here to read about tonsillectomy

The 7 areas of expertise:

Otology/Neurotology
Medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the ear, including traumatic and cancerous disorders of the external, middle, and inner ear, as well as the nerve pathways which affect hearing and balance.

Paediatric Otolaryngology
Medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the ears, nose, and throat in children.

Head and Neck Area
Medical and surgical treatment of cancerous (and non cancerous) tumours in the head and neck, including thyroid and parathyroid surgery.

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Treatment of cosmetic, functional, and reconstructive abnormalities of the face and neck.

Rhinology
Medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the nose and sinuses.

Laryngology
Medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the throat, including the voice.

Allergy
Medical treatment of inhalant allergies affecting the upper respiratory system.

The well-trained ENT specialist has a thorough knowledge of all of the organs and physical structures in the head and neck region. Virtually all ear nose and throat specialists routinely handle adenoidectomies, tonsillectomies, nosebleeds, ear-infections, hearing loss, dizziness, hoarseness, rhinitis and sinus disease. The physician’s qualifications and inclinations, as well as the community’s needs, will influence an individual’s practice. The broad challenges of the specialty allow a choice of direction, in addition to providing the best in patient care.