Minimally Invasive Procedures In ENT

By on November 19, 2012

ENT surgery concerns diagnosis and surgical treatment of the ear, nose, mouth and throat of a patient.  Medically speaking, this refers to all disorders of the head and neck area—beyond what preventive or natural treatment can provide.  ENT study, or otorhinolaryngology, can also involve subspecialties of neurology, laryngology, head and neck, sleep, facial plastics, sinuses, otology and pediatrics.

The Value of Minimally Invasive Procedures
An ENT doctor might refer you to an otorhinolaryngologist if you have been experiencing ears, nose or throat problems for a long stretch of time and don’t seem to respond to various over-the-counter solutions or physical therapy.  Naturally, no one likes the idea of invasive surgery, though it may be recommended in some cases of strep throat, tonsillitis or other serious conditions.

This is why many doctors and patients alike are reading up on minimally invasive surgery options.  Minimally invasive procedures do not involve breaking the skin; nor is there any contact between instruments and the inner part of the skin, or an internal cavity.  Sometimes minimally invasive procedures can be as simple as observation or perhaps involve highly specialized forms of radio surgery.

When it comes to ENT care, minimally invasive surgery is very low risk, considering that the nose, mouth and ear already have a natural passage inside the body, and do not require invasive surgical cutting.  Therefore, patients report less scarring, pain and time off work whenever a procedure is performed.

The Most Common Examples
What are the most common types of minimally invasive surgical procedures?  Two worth noting are robot-assisted surgery and salivary endoscopy.  The former involves a robotic system operating on ear, nose or throat areas using a specially designed 3D telescope.  Using this system provides surgeons with superior visibility and magnification.  Without this system, it would be nearly impossible to reach sensitive and hidden areas without massive surgical cutting.  This system is currently used to treat various forms of cancers as well as tonsil removal and even sleep apnea.

Salivary endoscopy involves a thorough examination of the salivary ducts, as well as related treatment, such as removing stones, injecting steroids, dilating the duct area or removing scar tissue.  One of the best things about minimally invasive ENT surgery is that it does not involve multiple visits to the doctor—all of which are highly stressful.  In fact, most patients can have the procedure done and then go home within a couple of days, or maybe even a few hours.

Radiotherapy is another form of this minimally invasive surgery, and often involves treating patients for head or neck cancer.  This procedure can deliver fast beams which destroy the tumor quickly and minimize the time a patient must spend holding still.

These procedures are very helpful to patients who dread massive surgery that would involve removing organs, glands and issue—not only a life-threatening episode, but a costly one at that.

Of course, only a doctor can tell you whether the best solution for you is radical surgery, minimally invasive surgery or even no surgery at all.  Believe it or not, surgery is not the first recommendation, even by the most skilled ENT doctors.  It is usually recommended as a last resort, after a patient fails to respond to medical treatment.

Remember, specialists can oftentimes treat common conditions without surgery of any kind.  Alternatives to look into might include medication, hearing devices, or perhaps even speech therapy.  Sometimes getting over a cold is just a matter of strengthening your body by way of eating nutritiously, resting and drinking more water.

You never know what’s wrong with your body until you get an opinion from a doctor. Don’t take chances…ask a professional and be sure!

Dr. Michael Barakate is a paediatric and adult otolaryngologist located in Sydney, Australia.  For more information on ENT surgery and ENT disorders, visit ENT-Surgery.com.au.

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