Need Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in South Africa?

The oldest registered specialist medical discipline in the United States is that of the ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor or, as he or she is quite often described across the Atlantic, the otorhinolaryngologist. Furthermore, it is also one of the medical specialities for which the demand has long been greatest in South Africa. In fact, the average parent is likely to have spent many hours in the consulting rooms of an ENT surgeon when worried over a child’s recurring sore throats and ear infections that tend to be a fairly regular occurrence during the first few years of life.

Although such conditions may be very common, this should not be seen as grounds for complacency and an ear infection should always be taken seriously. This is especially true when the patient is a young child, given that, without treatment, repeated infections have the potential to result in permanent hearing loss that could adversely affect his or her entire future. Infants, who are unable to communicate their distress in words, should be referred to one of the many ear, nose and throat specialists in South Africa if you have any cause for concern. Parents of babies need to be extra vigilant as, more often than not, the only visible signs of an infection are likely to be a reddening of the ear and a tendency for the child to keep touching it.

While most such infections will respond quite quickly to treatment with an appropriate antibiotic and cause no permanent hearing loss, this is not always the case. A few young patients tend to take longer to respond and may become re-infected on a regular basis. This, in turn, carries the risk of developing into a permanent chronic condition that can have far more serious consequences. In such cases, intervention by an ear nose and throat specialist is likely to be vital.

One of the most common surgical procedures performed on young children in South Africa is the insertion of grommets. Middle-ear infections are accompanied by a build-up of pus which, unless released can cause intense pain and render antibiotic treatment less effective. The surgery, technically known as a myringotomy, involves making an incision in the tympanum (eardrum), into which the tiny grommet is then fitted. This provides an immediate release of pressure whilst also improving the ventilation of the middle ear. As the child grows, the grommets are simply forced out, thus allowing the eardrum to reseal.

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are among the other procedures that are conducted on children on a fairly regular basis by many of the ear, nose and throat specialists practising in South Africa. Both procedures have, in many cases, been shown to be of value in restoring the overall health of the nasopharyngeal area and in minimising the risk of further infection.

Beyond the responsibilities described above, the role of these specialists extends to conditions affecting the head and neck. These may include the removal of benign and malignant tumours, as well as performing cosmetic and reconstructive surgery within the facial area. Some may also choose to focus their attention to young patients and, in this respect, providing the services of a paediatric ear, nose and throat specialist requires acquiring an extensive set of additional skills.

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