We Love Kids!
Our team of board certified Head and Neck Surgeons are all trained to treat a wide variety pediatric ear, nose and throat concerns. Some of the most common issues we treat include:
Tonsil and Adenoid issues:
Your tonsils and adenoid are part of your immune/lymphatic system, located in the back of your throat and behind your nose. Tonsil and adenoid tissues help educate your immune system when you are a newborn baby, but by six months of age your immune system is mature and the role that tonsils and adenoid play beyond this point in development is unclear. Sometimes your tonsils and adenoid become infected known as tonsillitis and adenoiditis, which makes your tonsils sore and swollen, and can make it hard to breathe through your nose and maybe even cause ear problems.
The first treatment for infected tonsils and adenoids is antibiotics. If you have frequent infections or trouble breathing, you may need surgery to remove the tonsils and/or adenoid- this is called tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy.
Ear Infections in Children
Ear infections are the most common illnesses in babies and young children. Most often, the infection affects the middle ear and is called otitis media. Eustachian tubes connect the middle portion of the ear to the back of the throat. These tubes often stop functioning as a result of an upper respiratory infection (cold or flu). Once this happens, a pressure and subsequent fluid “backup” occurs in the middle ear. This can affect hearing, because sound cannot get through all that fluid.
If your child does not yet talk, you need to look for signs of an infection:
- Tugging at ears
- Crying more than usual
- Ear drainage
- Trouble sleeping
- Balance difficulties
- Hearing problems
Often, ear infections go away on their own, but your health care provider may recommend pain relievers. Severe infections and infections in young babies may require antibiotics. Children who get frequent infections may need surgery to place small tubes inside their ears. The tubes relieve pressure in the ears so that the child can hear again.
To keep a middle ear infection from coming back, it helps to limit some of the factors that might put your child at risk, such as not being around people who smoke and not going to bed with a bottle. In spite of these precautions, some children may continue to have middle ear infections, sometimes as many as five or six a year. Your doctor may want to wait for several months to see if things get better on their own but, if the infections keep coming back and antibiotics aren’t helping, many doctors will recommend a surgical procedure that places a small ventilation tube in the eardrum to improve air flow and prevent fluid backup in the middle ear. The most commonly used tubes stay in place for six to nine months and require follow-up visits until they fall out.
If placement of the tubes still doesn’t prevent infections, a doctor may consider removing the adenoids to prevent infection from spreading to the eustachian tubes.
Pediatric Sinus issues
Sinusitis means you have inflammation in your sinuses. Common causes of inflammation in your nose and sinuses are viruses (common cold or flu), bacteria (bacterial sinusitis), and allergies.
Your sinuses are hollow air spaces within the bones surrounding the nose, in the forehead, and between the eyes. Sinuses produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If your nose is swollen (from allergies or a cold), this can block the sinuses and cause pain and infection.
Sinusitis can be acute, lasting for less than four weeks, or chronic, lasting much longer. Acute sinusitis often starts as a cold, which then turns into a bacterial infection. Allergies, pollutants, nasal problems and certain diseases can also cause sinusitis.
Symptoms of sinusitis can include facial pain and pressure, fever, weakness, fatigue, cough and congestion. There may also be mucus drainage from the front of the nose or in the back of the throat, called postnasal drip. Treatments often include antibiotics, decongestants, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications like steroids. Using heat pads on the inflamed area, saline nasal sprays and vaporizers/humidifiers/moisturizers can also help.