What is an ENT Specialist?
An 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. ENTs have special expertise in managing diseases of the ears; nose and nasal passage; sinuses; larynx or voice box; oral cavity and upper pharynx (mouth and throat); as well as structures of the neck and face. ENT is the oldest medical specialty in the United States.
One of the primary skills 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.
The nasal cavity and sinuses are the unique domain 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.
Also specific to the ENT specialty is expertise in managing diseases of the larynx or voice box and the upper aero digestive tract or esophagus, including disorders of the voice, respiration (breathing), and swallowing.
The Head and Neck
In the head and neck area, an ENT specialist is trained to treat infectious diseases, tumors (both benign and malignant/cancerous), facial trauma, and deformities of the face, including plastic surgery.
An ENT specialist may work with a team of doctors in a number of other medical and surgical specialties. Common ground is shared with neurosurgery in treating skull base disorders; plastic surgery in correcting cosmetic and traumatic deformities; opthalmology 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 pediatrics and family practice in caring for common infectious, congenital, traumatic, and malignant (cancerous) diseases and disorders in the pediatric and general population.
The 7 Areas of Expertise
- Medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the ear, including traumatic and cancerous disorders of the extrenal, middle, and inner ear, as well as the neuropathways for hearing and balance.
- Pediatric Otolaryngology
- Medical and surgical treatment of diseases in the ears, nose, and throat in children.
- Head and Neck Area
- Medical and surgical treatment of cancer in the head and neck, including mucosal, soft tissue, and endocrine.
- Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Treatment of cosmetic, functional, and reconstructive abnormalities of the face and neck.
- Medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the nose and sinuses.
- Medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the throat, including the voice.
- Medical treatment of inhalant allergies affecting the upper respiratory system.