ENT (ear, nose, and throat) or Otolaryngology is the branch of medicine and surgery that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ENT, head and neck.

The full name of the specialty is otorhinolaryngologyand it literally means "the study of ear, nose and throat".

Practitioners are called and professionally designated by the more accurate term otolaryngologists – head and neck surgeons, as specialists trained in otolaryngology are experts in surgical conditions of the head and neck. Some people refer to it simply as head and neck surgery.

Scope of ENT

As per the American Board of Subspecialities, the following the scope of practice in otorhinolaryngology or ENT is as follows:

Head and neck Facial Plastics Otology Neuro-otology Rhinology/sinus Laryngology Pediatrics Sleep
Surgical oncology Facial cosmetic surgery Ear Middle and inner ear Sinusitis Voice theraphy Velopalatine insufficiency  
Reconstruction Maxillofacial Hearing temporal bone Allergy phono-surgery Cleft lip and palate
Endocrine Surgery Trauma   Skull base Anterior skull base   Airways
      Dizziness Apnea and snoring   Vascular malformations
            Cochlear implant/BAHA

(* currently recognized by American Board of Medical Subspecialties )

ENT and Head & Neck Surgery

Ear infections present mainly with earache and ear discharge; it can be treated with medications, but chronic ear infections might lead to perforation in the ear drum and hearing loss, which can be corrected with surgery (Microsurgery). Hearing loss, dizziness (vertigo) and ringing sound in the ear are also some of the symptoms seen in disorders of the middle and inner ear.

50-60% of our population is affected with nasal allergic symptoms, especially sneezing, runny nose, nasal blockage and headache. If not treated this can lead to sinusitis, polyps in the nose or recurrent infection in the throat. Most of the allergy can be treated with medications. Chronic sinusitis and extensive nasal polyps can be treated with Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) or Balloon Sinoplasty.

Commonest symptom of voice box (larynx) involvement is hoarseness or change in voice. It can be diagnosed by doing a laryngoscopy. Cancers of the throat are common in smokers and alcoholics; any swallowing disturbance or change in voice should be taken seriously and treated at the earliest. Vocal cord nodules are commonly seen in professional voice users eg. teachers. Voice therapy can help them deal with the excess stress on the voice box.

Swellings in the neck are commonly seen with infections in the throat. If it persists for more than couple of weeks it should be evaluated for any signs of tuberculosis, any other chronic infections or cancers. Midline neck swelling can be due to thyroid and parathyroid disorders and tumors.

Nasal blockage and runny nose are common in children but long standing problems can lead to enlarged adenoids and tonsils, mouth breathing, glue ear, hearing loss, delay in growth, sleep disturbance, bed wetting, etc.