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 in the head and neck. The complete, official name for ENT is Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. We have special expertise in managing diseases of the ears, nose and nasal passage, sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity and pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face. ENT is one of the oldest medical specialties in the United States.
An ENT specialist is ready to start practicing after up to 13 years of college, medical school, and post-graduate training. To qualify for certification from the American Board of Otolaryngology, an applicant must first complete college, medical school (usually four years), and at least five years of specialty training. Next, the physician must pass the American Board of Otolaryngology examination and can pursue a one or two-year fellowship for more extensive training in one of seven subspecialty areas. These include:
- Pediatric Otolaryngology - Medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the ears, nose, and throat in children.
- 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 pathways which affect hearing, balance, and the facial nerve.
- Allergy - Medical treatment of inhalant allergies affecting the respiratory system.
- Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Treatment of cosmetic, functional, and reconstructive abnormalities of the face and neck.
- Head and Neck Surgery - Medical and surgical treatment of cancerous (and non-cancerous) tumors of the head and neck, including thyroid, parathyroid, and salivary gland lesions.
- Laryngology - Medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the throat, including the voice, esophagus, and trachea (windpipe).
- Rhinology - Medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the nose and sinuses.
Some ENT specialists limit these practices to one of these seven areas.
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, earaches, hearing loss, dizziness, hoarseness, and sinus disease. The physician's qualifications and inclinations, as well as the community's needs, will influence the physician's practice. The broad challenges of the specialty allow a choice of direction, in addition to providing the best patient care.