Pediatric Ear Nose Throat and Allergy

Quality specialty care that’s close to home isn’t just for grown-ups anymore

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All of our Board Certified physicians have received special training in the unique care of pediatric ENT problems. For more than a decade we have focused on caring for pediatric patients as part of our core mission. We understand how these problems can affect the whole family and are ready to care for your child with fast, complete and compassionate service.


 

Providing Relief.  Creating Smiles.

Parents trust ENT and Allergy Specialists because we understand that children are not simply small adults.  They have unique physical and emotional needs.  We are experts in providing relief of symptoms, and in helping children to feel safe and comfortable. Our goal is to help children suffer less, so they can smile more. 

 

Treatment First, Surgery Last

Most pediatric ENT problems can be remedied with medicines or allergy treatments and do not require surgery.  We are experts in both non-surgical and surgical pediatric ENT treatments. When a problem does require surgery, we have the experience to address your child’s condition, while ensuring comfort and safety.

 


 

 PEDIATRIC ALLERGIES AND ASTHMA

Allergies can be caused by environmental factors, as well as by food, and can cause a wide range of symptoms in children. If your child frequently coughs, wheezes or sneezes, even when there is no sign of a cold, allergies could be the cause. Allergies can also cause a runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin irritations, like rashes or hives.  Some children with food allergies may complain of stomach aches or cramps, or could feel nauseous.  

 

Asthma in children can result from an allergic reaction, or from a cold or respiratory infection.  The lungs and airways become irritated or clogged, resulting in coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing.

 

ENT and Allergy Specialists can provide a full range of testing and treatment options for pediatric allergies and asthma.  Visit our Asthma and Allergy page to learn more about how we can help you.

For certain allergic conditions, Sublingual Immunotherapy may be recommended.

 


 

PEDIATRIC SINUS DISORDERS

Children can suffer from a number of sinus disorders that cause irritation, blockages, and trouble with breathing or sleeping.  While these conditions are common in adults as well, ENT and Allergy Specialists physicians take special care in diagnosing and treating our young patients. To learn more about common sinus conditions and treatments offered, visit our Sinus Disorders section.

 

Sinus conditions common in children include:

Deviated Septum

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The nose is divided into two separate areas by cartilage.  When this cartilage is positioned too far to one side, rather than down the middle, it is called a deviated septum.  This can cause difficulty breathing through the nose, result in nasal discharge, or block the sinuses.  Symptoms of a deviated septum may include frequent sinus infections or loud breathing, especially when your child is sleeping.

 

Foreign Bodies in the Nose

Children sometimes experiment with putting things where they don’t belong.  Up the nose is a common spot for everything from small stones, to toys, food, batteries, tissues and more. Sometimes, a child will put an object in the nose to relieve symptoms of a nasal condition. Symptoms of a foreign object in the nasal cavities could include difficulty breathing, a whistling sound when breathing, a discharge or other signs of irritation.  Your specialist can examine your child and remove the object, usually right in the office.

 

Nasal Fracture

If your child has a break or crack in the bones or cartilage of the nose, it is considered a nasal fracture. This could be caused by a sports injury, car accident, or just horsing around with siblings and friends. In most cases, a nasal fracture is usually obvious due to swelling, bleeding or a bent appearance.  It’s always a good idea to have your child checked out as soon as possible if you suspect a fracture.  Nasal fractures can be serious if they impede breathing, or your child may have other complications related to the fracture, such as a concussion. A fracture should be treated within two weeks of the injury, to prevent long-term nasal obstructions or other issues.

 

Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are fairly common in children.  They are most commonly caused by dry air, an injury, picking the nose or putting an object in the nose.  In some cases, a nosebleed may be a sign of a more serious condition.  If you are unable to stop your child’s nosebleed, it is best to contact your primary care physician or ENT specialist.

 


 

PEDIATRIC EAR DISORDERS

Middle Ear Infections

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An ear ache, usually caused by an ear infection, is one of the most common reasons for a visit to your child’s doctor.  Symptoms can include pain, irritability, trouble sleeping, tugging at the ears, fever, fluid coming from the ear, or trouble hearing.  There are several different types of middle ear infections. 

 

Acute Otitis Media (AOM) is the most common form of ear infections. AOM usually affects the middle ear.  Inflammation is caused by fluid pressing against the ear drum.  The infection can be created by a viral upper-respiratory infection, such as a common cold, or by a bacterial or fungal infection.

 

Otitis Media with Effusion (OME) occurs when fluid and mucus collect in the middle ear, even after an infection has been cleared. Your child may have trouble hearing, or may be uncomfortable due to a feeling of fullness in the ear.

 

Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion (COME).  Sometimes, the symptoms of OME continue, or return frequently. Untreated, this can result in hearing loss, and create conditions that result in frequent ear infections.

Treatment for ear infections includes antibiotics and pain medication.  For more serious or chronic ear infections your specialist may recommend a procedure called a Myringotomy, commonly known as ear tubes.  Sometimes, a severe ear infection or injury can create a small hole in the ear drum.  Myringoplasty is a procedure that may be suggested to repair the ear drum.

 

Swimmer’s Ear

Also known as External Otitis, swimmer's ear is an infection of the skin of the outer ear canal.  It can be caused by excessive exposure to water, resulting in water becoming trapped in the ear. Swimmer’s ear can also be caused by frequent use of cotton swabs.  Symptoms including itching, swelling of the ear canal, drainage from the ear, pain or a feeling of fullness in the ear. Treatment may include medications for pain, drops to restore the ear’s antibacterial environment, steroids to reduce swelling or antifungal medication to help prevent or fight infection.

 

Mastoiditis

The mastoid bone is part of the inner ear.  It is different from other bones in that it is made up of air sacs, not solid material.  Sometimes an ear infection can spread to these air sacs, causing them to disintegrate.  Although infection of the mastoid is usually mild, it can evolve into a serious condition. Treatment may require hospitalization to provide intravenous antibiotics and/or surgical procedures including myringoplasty or ear tubes.

 

Preauricular Pits

If your child has what looks like a small hole near the front of the ear or near the ear lobe, it could be a preauricular pit, also referred to as a preauricular cyst, fissure, or sinus.  This “pit” is really a sinus tract that travels under the skin.  Sometimes, this area can develop an infection, cyst or abscess. Treatment may include antibiotics, draining the abscess or cyst, or surgically removing the sinus tract.  In rare cases, a preauricular pit could be related to a more serious syndrome involving the kidneys and liver.

 

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a condition that affects adults and children in much the same way.  It involves a buzzing or ringing in the ears.  The sound can be there all the time, or only once in a while.  Children may describe the sound as clicking, humming, hissing or other sensations.  Tinnitus is often a sign of an underlying condition, ranging from damage to the middle or inner ear, a reaction to medications, and a range of medical conditions. Learn more about Tinnitus here.

 

Vertigo (Dizziness)

Vertigo, the sensation of feeling dizzy, occurs more often in adults than it does children.  But, for a child, feeling dizzy, lightheaded or unbalanced can be very upsetting.  Vertigo may be caused by an infection or problem with the inner or middle ear, or by a number of other conditions. To diagnose the cause, your ENT specialist may perform tests including hearing exams, blood tests, and imaging studies, or tests of the vestibular system, which helps control balance and spatial orientation.  Treatment will depend on the cause.

 

Hearing Loss in Children

A child who has trouble hearing often has difficulty in learning to speak. That, in turn, can hinder social development and the ability to learn. Hearing loss can be present at birth due to damage or a defect in the inner ear.  It can also develop after birth due to a problem with the outer or middle ear.  Infants who have hearing loss may not respond to your voice, or react to loud noises.  Other signs of hearing loss in an infant may be that your baby doesn’t turn towards the direction of a sound.  Or, your little one may not make sounds of his or her own.  If your toddler has hearing loss, the signs may be more obvious. 

 

The ENT and Allergy Specialists team of physicians, Audiologists and Hearing Aid Specialists can diagnose the cause of your child’s hearing issues, and recommend the best treatments. Treatment could include hearing aids that make sounds louder, or a Cochlear implant, a device that uses an electrical transmission to send sound signals to the brain.   Learn more about hearing loss and our hearing aid services.

 


 

PEDIATRIC MOUTH NECK AND THROAT DISORDERS

Tongue Tie (Ankyloglossia)

Sometimes, a baby or child’s tongue may be “tied” to the bottom of the mouth.  An infant with this condition may have difficulty nursing.  In an older child, speech and eating could be affected.  Treatment involves the removal of the band of tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth.  For newborns, this can often be done quickly and easily immediately after birth. In other cases, a more extensive surgery may be required.

 

Neck Masses

Although they can be alarming to parents, neck masses are very common in infants and children.  A lump or swelling in the neck can be large or extremely small, and some are only noticeable when a child has a cold, sinus infection or other form of upper respiratory infection. These masses are caused by a cyst, a swelling of the glands, or a benign tumor.  In some cases, a neck mass can be related to a more serious condition.  Treatment will depend on the diagnosis, and may require surgery to remove the excess tissue.

 

Branchial Cleft Abnormalities

Sometimes, a child is born with abnormally formed tissues in the neck.  The tissues can form deep tissue pockets or cavities containing fluids.  These are called cysts.  A branchial cleft abnormality can also cause fistulas, which are drainage passages from the internal tissue to the skin surface.

These abnormalities can sometimes make breathing and swallowing difficult. Your ENT specialist may recommend surgery to remove the excess tissue.  Antibiotics may be required for infections.

 

Thyroglossal Duct Cyst

A thyrogloassal duct cyst is a lump or mass that develops from cells or tissues that remain after the formation of the thyroid gland.  These tissues can form pockets, which can develop into cysts.  If infected, the cysts can fill with fluid or mucus, causes redness and tenderness and, in some cases, drainage.  These cysts can be surgically removed.  Antibiotics may be recommended to treat the infection.

 

Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids

Tonsils are small pieces of tissue located on the sides of the throat, at the back of the mouth.  Adenoids are small amounts of tissue located above the soft roof of the mouth.  Both the tonsils and the adenoids help fight infections.  However, the tonsils and adenoids themselves can become a problem if they become enlarged.  When this happens, a child may experience frequent sore throats, fever and other signs of illness, difficulty breathing or sleep apnea.  Your specialist may recommend alleviating the problem by having the tonsils and adenoids removed through a Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy.

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When a child stops breathing while sleeping, it is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  This is usually caused by a blockage in the airway.  OSA is common in children ages 2 to 6, but can occur at all ages. A child with OSA may be irritable and tired during the day, have trouble concentrating, or could show signs of hyperactivity. Left untreated, OSA could cause long term problems, including failure to thrive, high blood pressure and heart problems.  In many cases, the blockage that contributes to OSA is caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids.  Or, OSA could be related to a child being overweight, and having tissue in the neck that blocks breathing. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis, and may include the removal of the tonsils and adenoids, or weight reduction strategies.  If surgery is not an option, your specialist may recommend the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask.  The device helps to blow air through the nasal passages and into the airway.

Watch our video to learn more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

 


 

TREATMENTS WE OFFER:

Allergy and Asthma Testing and Treatment

ENT and Allergy Specialists offers a full range of allergy and asthma testing and treatment, including Sublingual Immunotherapy.

 

Audiology Testing and Treatment

Our team of ENT specialists and professional Audiologists and Hearing Aid Specialists can test your child for hearing loss and provide medical treatment options as well as hearing aids and Cochlear implants.

 

Myringotomy

Myringotomy is a procedure that helps provide relief from fluid buildup in the ear.  A small incision is made into your child’s eardrum and small tubes are placed to allow drainage.

 

Myringoplasty

Myringoplasty is a surgery that repairs a hole or tear in the ear drum.  It is performed under a general anesthetic.  The surgeon will take a small piece of tissue from the skin in front of the ear and use it to “patch” the ear drum.

 


MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGICAL TECHNIQUES 

Balloon Sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty is a safe, effective procedure for removing nasal blockages.  It offers a faster recovery compared to traditional methods of sinus surgery.  This procedure can be performed in your specialist’s office.  Watch our video to learn more.

 

Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction for Nasal Obstruction

Radiofrequency turbinate reduction (RFTR) can reduce tissue volume in a precise, targeted manner. This technique is relatively quick and painless.

 

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

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ENT and Allergy Specialists can perform traditional tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery.  Whenever possible, we utilize minimally invasive surgical techniques.  These include:

 

Powered Intracapsular Tonsillectomy.  This technique removes up to 95% of tonsil tissue while leaving the tonsil capsule in place.  This technique results in a faster recovery with less sore throat pain.

 

Coblation Tonsillectomy.  Radiofrequency radiation is used to completely or partially remove the tonsils.  The procedure is performed with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.  This helps reduce soreness after the procedure, and contributes to a faster recovery.

 

 

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