Consulting an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist on Pretoria

Although the word may be completely unfamiliar to many and even unpronounceable to some, the term, otolaryngology, was originally introduced in the USA to describe the professional activities of what, in Pretoria and the remainder of South Africa, most people would refer to as an ear, nose and throat specialist and others, simply as an ENT doctor.

The three anatomical areas whose common maladies have created the need for this specialisation are located in the head and neck areas and are responsible, among other things, for the senses of hearing and smell and the ability to speak, respectively. These anatomical regions are all highly interdependent and, by analogy, may be thought of as three separate rooms that, together, make up an apartment. In this hypothetical dwelling, the laryngeal area is a sort of vestibule that has connecting corridors to the auditory organs and nasal passages.

The existence of these interconnections, though important to their various functions, also creates a potential for complications in that anything adversely affecting any one of the three regions, could eventually penetrate to the other two. In the case of infections this is a particularly common occurrence. Very often, an upper respiratory tract infection will begin with a laryngitis that then spreads, sometimes, downwards to the bronchial tree and lungs but, quite often, it will migrate vertically to infect, first the pharynx, and then the nasal sinuses and Eustachian tubes. On occasions, further spreading occurs that results in the particularly painful condition known as Otitis media and that may quite often require the attentions of an ear, nose and throat specialist in cases where, for instance, a local GP may have been consulted only after the onset of complications.

In Pretoria, Ear Institute, a centre dedicated to the detection and correction of hearing disorders, retains the services of an otolaryngologist in order to provide for just such an eventuality and to deal with any other relevant contingencies that may be picked up during the various investigative procedures and treatments conducted by its healthcare professionals. The ability to provide this specialised service without the need for the often very lengthy delays that are routinely experienced by this type of practice when it is subject to the constraints of a referral system.

Trained not just as a physician but also in surgical procedures, the education of an ENT professional is both lengthy and demanding and must prepare the incumbent to undertake a range of differing and often crucial responsibilities. He or she will often be called to a casualty department to assess a patient’s needs or to administer emergency treatment to someone with injuries to the head or neck and may later be called upon to perform plastic or reconstructive surgery or both where the extent and severity of the trauma may necessitate this course of action.

It’s never all high drama, even in the emergency room, where much of the demand will likely be from a succession of small boys requiring needing marbles or plastic soldiers removed from a nostril or external auditory canal and much of the routine work will again involve treating infections and investigating hearing disorders. Nevertheless, the services provided by a skilled ear, nose and throat specialist in Pretoria are invaluable to its citizens.

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