Head and Neck Conditions
The anatomy of your head and neck includes glands, bones, cartilage and other structures that work together to enable breathing and immunological responses. When any one of these structures fails to perform, you are at increased risk for developing complex medical issues.
The ENT physicians of Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists have over 40 years combined experience in treating conditions related to the head and neck. Additionally, they spend each and every day with patients like you who live with the conditions. As board-certified Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgeons, our physicians are also qualified to perform any surgical interventions required for your treatment. Because ENT treatment is so specialized, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule a consultation. Many of our patients are referred to us by their primary care physician. Depending on your medical coverage, you may be a self-directed patient who requires no referral. We can work with your family doctor to obtain a referral if necessary.
Because ENT treatment is so specialized, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule a consultation. Many of our patients are referred to us by their primary care physician. Depending on your medical coverage, you may be a self-directed patient who requires no referral. We can work with your family doctor to obtain a referral if necessary.
Head and Neck Treatment
Chronic headaches are defined as headaches that occur at least 15 days out of the month for three months in a row. Chronic headaches prevent people from functioning normally in their everyday lives. The headaches also interfere with concentration and make even the simplest tasks a hardship.
To make matters worse, chronic headaches can be a sign of serious underlying medical conditions, some of which are potentially life-threatening. Seeking treatment for your chronic headaches can help you rule out potentially dangerous complications and start getting your pain under control.
Vertigo, also referred to as a balance disorder, is feeling motion when no motion is occurring. The causes of vertigo include a problem with the inner ear’s balance mechanisms or issues within the brain. Although vertigo is harmless, it can indicate a serious condition if it is accompanied by symptoms such as difficulty speaking or walking, double vision or severe headaches. Even if no other symptoms exist, we recommend that anyone experiencing vertigo be examined by one of our ENT specialists, but treatment is especially important if your symptoms worsen.
Dizziness is a term used to describe lightheadedness or to feel faint, weak and unsteady. Vertigo is the dizziness that creates the sensation that you or your surroundings are moving or spinning.
Dizziness ranks behind fatigue and chest for the top reasons that adults visit their doctors. Experiencing frequent dizzy spells or constant dizziness may affect your level of productivity, but it is rarely a serious, life-threatening condition. The treatment for dizziness is dependent upon your symptoms and the cause of the condition. The treatments are usually effective.
Tonsillectomy (Tonsil Removal)
Near the back of an individual’s mouth are two small pieces of soft tissue known as tonsils, small pieces of soft tissue that are located on each side of the mouth. As a part of the body’s overall immune system, tonsils are the first line of defense in helping the human body fight off viruses and bacteria.
A tonsillectomy is a common procedure in which the tonsils are removed in order to treat sleep apnea, improve one’s breathing, or help those that struggle with chronic tonsillitis. A tonsillectomy is typically completed in less than an hour from start to finish. The patient is first put to sleep with general anesthesia and will remain asleep throughout the entire process.
Your Suncoast ENT will use a laser or scalpel to carefully cut away the tonsils and remove them entirely. Some patients may also benefit from an adenoidectomy, which can be carried out at the same time. The surgery has been completed once the tonsils and adenoids have been removed, and the bleeding has gone down.
Adenoidectomy (Adenoid Removal)
You may have heard of an adenoidectomy, but you may not know what it is or even where the adenoids are located in the human body. As part of your body’s immune system, the adenoid helps protect you from viruses and bacteria. Sometimes referred to as a pharyngeal tonsil, the adenoid is a single mass of tissue that helps our bodies recognize the different types of germs. Unfortunately, the adenoid may cause more problems than benefits, such as obstructed airway and infections.
The goal of an adenoidectomy is to allow the patient to live a healthier and more comfortable lifestyle. An adenoidectomy is performed under general anesthesia so the patient is asleep as our Suncoast ENT removes the gland through the mouth. The physician uses a small instrument known as a “curette” or diathermy instrument which produces high-frequency electrical currents that burn the adenoid, then the tissue is scraped away. After the adenoid is removed and the wound stitched up, the patient is brought out of anesthesia.
Thyroidectomy (Thyroid Removal)
The thyroid is an endocrine gland that governs over all the others in your body. The gland produces hormones that control metabolism, sex hormone production and numerous other body functions. The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is situated in the throat just underneath the larynx (voice box) and just above the collarbone, and it is partially wrapped around the trachea (windpipe).
The term “thyroidectomy” describes a surgical procedure that removes some or all of the thyroid gland. The procedure is usually done in cases of thyroid cancer or other thyroid disorders such as goiter or hyperthyroidism. A thyroidectomy should only be performed when absolutely necessary and by a highly-skilled surgeon.
Parathyroidectomy (Parathyroid Removal)
Parathyroid glands are located in your neck and balance the amount of calcium in your blood by producing parathyroid hormone. A majority of people have four of these glands, but one or more of them can become overactive, resulting in too much calcium in your blood. Hypercalcemia, a condition in which your body has too much calcium, places you at risk for kidney stones, bone weakening, and other conditions.
A parathyroidectomy is a surgical procedure in which one or all four of your parathyroid glands are removed. After a parathyroidectomy, the symptoms related to the overactivity of your parathyroid glands should improve. The surgery can also help reduce the risk of your heart, bones or kidneys becoming damaged.
Parotidectomy (Salivary Gland Removal)
The parotid gland is the largest salivary gland, which is responsible for the production of saliva to aid in consuming food. The gland is located behind the ear and extends into the upper neck. Tumors inside the gland are the most frequently seen problem with the parotid gland. Most parotid tumors are benign and do not require surgery. Malignancies can vary greatly in terms of their aggressiveness and eventual prognosis, and many less severe parotid cancers can be cured using surgery. Sometimes, recurrent infections require surgery.
A parotidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the parotid gland. Most parotid gland tumors are located in the superficial area of the gland, although some can be found in the deep lobe. A superficial parotidectomy is when just the superficial lobe of the gland is taken out. A total parotidectomy is when both deep lobes and the superficial lobes are removed.
Excision of Branchial Cleft Cysts
Everyone has a pair of submandibular or salivary glands under their jawbone. Each submandibular gland creates saliva that travels through a long duct to be secreted in the mouth. Saliva secreted by the submandibular glands is slightly thicker than the saliva produced by other salivary glands which can lead to the formation of little stones.
The most common problem concerning the submandibular gland is a blockage caused by a narrowing of the duct or the presence of small stones. When a blockage occurs in the duct, have a symptom of painful swelling of the glands while eating or drinking. Stones and blockages inside the submandibular gland are removed easily with a surgical procedure inside the mouth.
Occasionally, the swelling subsides without treatment, but severe blockages frequently lead to persistent inflammation. In addition, a large lump may develop within the submandibular gland. While these lumps are painless, up to 50% are cancerous or precancerous, requiring removal along with laboratory testing. All of these lumps become larger gradually, making removal when it is small a better plan.
Located throughout your body, lymph nodes are an important part of your immune system. The small, soft glands may be oval or round in shape and are encased in connective tissue. Inside are special types of cells that promote immunity — lymphocytes to trap pathogens and macrophages to destroy and remove the trapped pathogens. The pathogens are removed from your body through the lymphatic vessels that connect to your circulatory system.
Even though many lymph nodes are just under your skin, the small size makes them difficult to detect unless the glands are swollen. Swollen lymph nodes are easily palpable, which is why your physician touches your glands when you have certain symptoms. The swelling is an indication that the glands are actively removing a pathogen from your body. The most common cause of swollen lymph nodes is infections stemming from viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic origins.
Cyst and Mass Removal
The development of a mass, growth, tumor or cyst on the head or neck can be a very serious health issue. Common types of cysts and masses include:
- Benign lesions: Benign growths are irregular growths that are determined to be non-cancerous. As such, benign lesions do not spread to neighboring body tissue. Despite the connotation of this designation, many sufferers sustain damage to their nerves in the head and neck area from aggressive benign tumors and growths.
- Damaged lymph nodes: Irregular tumors and growths can trigger the body’s immune system to react, overloading and swelling the nearby lymph nodes in the head and neck area to create non-metastasizing growths and masses.
- Cancer: Cancerous growths are classified by an insistent colonization of neighboring body tissue. Malignant and metastasizing cancerous tumors and growths are classified into two categories: primary or secondary.
- Primary – Primary cancerous tumors and growths first develop in the head or neck area, laying their roots inside the human throat, salivary gland, larynx, thyroid and the brain itself.
- Secondary – Second-generation tumors that have colonized new tissue for the primary tumors which originated in areas of the body lower than the neck.
A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure that involves making a hole in the neck to access the airway, specifically the windpipe. While some people only need a tracheostomy for a short period of time, others need a tracheostomy for the rest of their lives.
In general, the following situations will call for a tracheostomy insertion:
- When a ventilator is prescribed to a patient for more than two (2) weeks.
- When a medical condition, such as throat cancer or vocal cord paralysis, obstructs the airway.
- When neurological conditions make it difficult for you to expectorate the secretions from your throat.
- When you’re preparing for surgery to your head or neck and require breathing assistance.
- When you experience severe trauma to your head, face, or neck that causes airway obstruction.
- Whenever there is any type of emergency situation that obstructs your airway, and emergency medical technicians cannot insert a breathing tube into your mouth.
A laryngoscopy is a procedure whereby a doctor examines the back of your throat, larynx (voice box) and vocal cords using a laryngoscope.
A laryngoscopy may be performed for a number of reasons, such as:
- Assisting with an intubation to help with breathing
- Checking possible causes of persistent earaches
- Diagnosing the cause of a persistent cough, bloody cough, hoarseness, throat pain, or bad breath
- Evaluating reasons for difficulty swallowing
- Performing biopsies
- Removing foreign objects
- Removing polyps
- Viewing masses in the throat