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Throat Services

Adenoidectomy

An adenoidectomy is the surgical removal of the adenoid glands. Adenoids are small lumps of tissue in the back of the throat that help fight ear, nose, and throat infections. The majority of adenoidectomies are performed in children. The adenoids usually shrink by adolescence, so adults rarely undergo the procedure.

An adenoidectomy may be needed if the adenoids become infected and swell up, blocking the nose and making it difficult to breathe. Swollen adenoids may also result in sleep apnea, chronic snoring, ear infections, and difficulty swallowing. Adenoidectomies are usually performed on an outpatient basis using a general anesthetic.

Swollen adenoids are often associated with tonsillitis and may be removed as part of an operation to remove the tonsils. This procedure is called an adenotonsillectomy.

Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancers encompass several different diseases that can affect the mouth, nose, throat and other surrounding areas. Over 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year, as these diseases account for 3 to 5 percent of all cancers. Many cases of head and neck cancer can be prevented through life changes.

Several different types of cancer can affect the areas of the head and neck. Most begin in the lining of moist, mucosal surfaces such as the mouth, nose and throat. The cells in the lining are known as squamous cells, and may therefore be affected by squamous cell carcinomas. The different types of cancer associated with the head and neck include:

  • Oral cavity
  • Salivary glands
  • Nasal cavity
  • Pharynx (including nasopharynx, oropharynx and hypopharynx)
  • Larynx
  • Lymph nodes

Head and neck cancers are most often caused by tobacco and alcohol use, especially cancer of the oral cavity and larynx. Other factors that may lead to cancer include sun exposure, HPV, and radiation exposure. Tobacco use is linked to 85 percent of head and neck cancers.

Fortunately, many people with head and neck cancers experience symptoms right away that lead to an early diagnosis of the condition. Symptoms of head and neck cancers vary depending on the type of cancer, but may include:

  • Lump in the neck
  • Hoarseness or other change in the voice
  • Growth in the mouth
  • Blood in saliva
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Earache
  • New or changed growths on skin

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your doctor may perform an endoscopy, blood and urine test, imaging test and biopsy, along with a complete physical examination. Treatment for these cancers depends on the type and location of the tumor, as well as the patient's age and overall health. Treatment often includes surgery to remove the cancer, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It is important to discuss treatment options with your doctors, as certain methods may have long-term effects on the way you look, talk, eat or breathe. Making healthy life changes, including avoiding smoking and alcohol use, will help prevent the disease from recurring, as well as reduce the risk for other diseases.

Laryngitis Treatment

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx (voice box) due to overuse or infection. Inside the larynx are two vocal cords, which normally open and close smoothly to form sounds through their movement and vibration. In laryngitis, the vocal cords swell up, distorting the sounds they produce. This causes the voice to sound hoarse.

Laryngitis may be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting). Most of the causes of laryngitis, such as a temporary viral infection or vocal strain, are not serious. Some cases, however, may be caused by a more serious underlying condition that requires medical attention.

Treatment of Neck Masses

A neck mass is a common childhood condition that involves swelling that changes the shape of the neck. Neck masses do not usually cause any symptoms and often disappear on their own.

They may be caused by:

  • Enlarged lymph node caused by infection
  • Inflamed or infected cyst
  • Trauma
  • Inflammation of salivary glands
  • Tumor

Neck masses caused by infection can be painful and may require antibiotic treatment. Those that last more than a few weeks should undergo diagnostic testing.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Diagnosis & Surgical Treatment

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that involves breathing problems during sleep, as the throat muscles relax and block the airway. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea often experience loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, insomnia and waking up with a sore throat. This condition can affect anyone, but is most common in older adults.

Doctor Tsai may be able to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea after an evaluation of your symptoms. Additional testing may be needed in some cases, which may include:

  • Nocturnal polysomnography
  • Oximetry
  • Portable cardiorespiratory testing

These tests are performed while the patient is asleep to help detect any abnormal behaviors that may lead to sleep apnea.

Once the condition has been diagnosed, there are several treatment options available to manage symptoms and allow patients to enjoy uninterrupted sleep. While there are some nonsurgical treatments available, many patients with sleep apnea need surgery to remove excess tissue from the nose or throat in order to unblock the airways and promote healthy breathing.

Surgery for obstructive sleep apnea may include:

  • Surgical removal of tissue - this is performed through uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, a procedure that removes tissue from the throat as well as the tonsils and adenoids.
  • Jaw correction - the upper and lower parts of the jaw are moved forward during this procedure to create a larger space behind the tongue and soft palate.
  • Implants - implants are placed during the Pillar procedure, which places three small rods in the soft palate to support the tissue there and prevent the airway from collapsing during sleep.
  • Surgical opening in the neck - this procedure is for severe cases of sleep apnea and involves inserting a metal or plastic tube through an opening in the neck to assist with breathing during sleep.

Doctor Tsai will decide which procedure is best for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition.

Pharyngitis Treatment

Pharyngitis is a viral infection that causes a sore throat and pain when swallowing, and is often a result of the common cold or strep throat. This infection causes an inflammation of the throat and sometimes the tonsils as well.

Depending on the cause of the condition, other symptoms of pharyngitis may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulty breathing

Pharyngitis associated with the common cold has no treatment other than bed rest and over-the-counter medication, while pharyngitis caused by strep throat can be treated with an antibiotic.

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