Common Childhood ENT Problems and Surgical Treatments

Breathing difficulties

Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists are experts in disorders and diseases of the face. ENT specialists primarily give diagnoses and perform treatments that correct genetic and injury related functioning of the ear, nose, and throat. The increase of science and research has made many of these procedures possible today when patients in the past simply had to live with these life altering conditions.

Hearing loss at birth

It is possible to suffer from hearing loss at birth. It is usually due to a malformation of the ears during pregnancy. It can also be due to an infection of the mother during either pregnancy or childbirth. This is a specific area that research has made significant improvements in. Many years ago, if a child was born with malformed ears, they would have to learn sign language and would likely never hear in their life. Today, however, ENT specialists and surgeons can reconstruct and reshape the ears, allowing them to hear for the first time.

The common tonsillectomy surgery

Tonsillectomies have been around for years. When a child suffers from numerous and recurring throat infections, such as strep throat, the tonsils are usually removed. Today, however, surgeons are removing the tonsils for other reasons. Thirty years ago, approximately 90% of tonsillectomies in children were done for recurrent infections, now it is about 20% for infection and 80% for obstructive sleep problems (OSA). People that struggle with sleep apneas during sleep can see some relief with the removal of the tonsils.

Cleft palate repairs

A cleft palate is a malformation of the cleft lip and cleft palate. It can prevent efficient breathing and leaves patients with a large split on their lip or mouth. Many years ago, a child with a cleft palate would be left to live with it. A cleft palate repair today is considered to be a routine ENT surgery and is one of the common ENT problems seen. Surgery to repair a cleft lip usually occurs in the first few months of life and is recommended within the first 12 months of life. Additionally, a cleft palate repair today might also include an entire airway reconstruction, especially if the airway is also affected by the cleft palate.

Chronic hearing and speech problems

Chronic hearing and speech problems can be difficult to diagnose in young children. The child is not yet at a speaking age and troubles with formulating words is often thought as normal for the age. Although these speech difficulties are often found when the child reaches school age, the treatment success rates are better in younger children. Sometimes, parents can identify hearing and speech problems with hypernasal speech. Sensorineural hearing loss is present in about 40,000 newborns each year. Speech difficulties can also be due to hearing problems, as the child is unable to hear how speech patterns and words are properly formed.

Children are at risk of many ENT conditions. Early detection and diagnosis are crucial in treating them before they cause permanent damage. If you have any concerns over your child?s ability to pick up language, hearing, or with chronic nasal and sleep problems, it could be beneficial to consult with an ENT professional. Many of these conditions are caused by malformations during the pregnancy and can easily be corrected with minimally invasive surgical procedures. With advanced science and ENT procedures, even the normal cleft palate repair can be completed with minimal surgical time and even less recovery.

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