Practising as an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist in Johannesburg

The job of an ear, nose and throat specialist in a city the size of Johannesburg is one that tends to impose exceptional demands upon the incumbent. Should he or she also happen to focus on paediatric patients then his or her day is likely to be busier than ever, as it is infants and young children whose ailments most commonly result in the need the services of their chosen discipline.

The otolaryngologist, to use the more formal title, is a physician who, in most countries, will have been required to complete a lengthy period as a surgical resident. During this time which will commonly last 5 years, most of the emphasis is focussed on those surgical procedures that are applicable to the head and neck regions, the remainder being more general in nature. Upon completion of their residency, some may then elect to specialise even further by pursuing a more advanced form of training to achieve fellowship status. This will be structured to address one of the several sub-disciplines, among which are paediatric otolaryngology, facial reconstructive surgery, rhinology and those aspects of oncology that relate to the head and neck.

Those who end up seeking attention at an ENT department will normally do so as the result of a referral. Most often this will have been arranged by the patient’s general practitioner. In addition to these sources, the accident and emergency departments will also provide a significant stream of referrals to the ear, nose and throat specialist in the various hospitals of Johannesburg and other South African cities.

While medication provide at a primary care centre is sufficient, in most instances, to cope with the common infections that affect the auditory, olfactory and vocal organs, there are times when topical, oral and even systemic antibiotics may prove ineffective or when the root cause of a condition may require surgical intervention rather than simple medication. It is in such cases that the specialised knowledge and skills of a consultant ENT doctor can prove absolutely crucial.

Though it is invariably the physicians that most commonly call upon the service of an otolaryngologist, they are not the only source of patients. Quite commonly, the referral will actually originate not from a medical practice but from the offices of another type of healthcare professional – an audiologist. In such circumstances, the patient will most probably have experienced some degree of hearing difficulty or other auditory symptom such as tinnitus and then sought advice at one of the country’s many audiology centres such as The Ear Institute.

During the preliminary examination and testing that is routinely conducted at any of the 19 centres administered by The Ear Institute in South Africa and Namibia, the audiologist will often detect physical signs that suggest the patient’s symptoms may actually result from an underlying medical condition that lies beyond the purview of his or her field of specialty. In other instances, having once confirmed that the patient does indeed have a hearing impairment, his or her condition may prove unsuitable for correction by means of a conventional electronic amplification device and, instead, require a surgeon to perform a cochlear implant.

Call it otolaryngology or simply ENT, in Johannesburg, the role of an ear, nose and throat specialist can be vital.

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