Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (Ear, Nose, and Throat)
MetroHealth’s Department of Otolaryngology (ENT) provides comprehensive
medical and surgical services and is a leader in care of patients with ear,
nose, throat, and head and neck disorders.
Otolaryngology, pronounced "oh/toe/lair/in/goll/oh/jee" is the oldest medical
specialty in the nation. Otolaryngologists are physicians who are trained in
medically and surgically managing and treating patients experiencing disorders
of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck.
They are often referred to as ENT physicians.
Otolaryngologists are especially skilled at diagnosing and managing diseases
of the ears, nose and sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity, upper pharynx
(mouth and throat), and structures of the neck and face. They diagnose, treat,
and manage both specialty-specific disorders and primary care problems in both
pediatric and adult patients. One of the primary qualities that differentiates
otolaryngologists from many other types of physicians is that they are trained
in both medicine and surgery.
Areas That Otolaryngologists Treat
loss affects one in 10 people in North
America . As ear disorders are usually their specialty,
otolaryngologists are trained in both the medical and surgical treatment of
hearing, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise (tinnitus), nerve pain,
and facial and cranial nerve disorders. Otolaryngologists also manage inner and
outer ear birth disorders.
The Nose—Chronic sinusitis affects
about 35 million people each year, making it one of the most common health
complaints in the country. Caring for the nasal cavity and sinus area is one of
the primary skills of otolaryngologists. Managing allergies and sense of smell
also fall into this "nasal area" category.
The Throat—Verbal communication,
e.g., speaking or singing, as well as eating a meal fall into this vital area.
Other specific skills of otolaryngologists include expertise in managing
diseases of the larynx (voice box) and the upper aero-digestive tract or
esophagus, which is where voice and swallowing disorders can
The Head and Neck—Being the center
of the body, the head and neck area includes the important nerves that control
sight, smell, hearing, and the face. In this area, otolaryngologists are trained
to treat infectious diseases, both benign and malignant (cancerous) tumors,
facial trauma, and face deformities. They perform both cosmetic plastic surgery
and reconstructive surgery.
Training and Patient Care
Otolaryngologists can begin practicing after completing up to 15 years of
college and post-graduate training. To qualify for certification by the American
Board of Otolaryngology, an applicant must first graduate from college, medical
school (usually four years), and complete at least five years of specialty
training. The physician then must pass the American Board of Otolaryngology
examination. In addition, some otolaryngologists go on to pursue a one- or
two-year fellowship to acquire more extensive training in one of the following
- Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery
- Head and neck
- Laryngology (throat)
- Otology/Neurotology (ears, balance and tinnitus)
- Pediatric otolaryngology
- Rhinology (nose)