Throat Services

Throat Services

We frequently see patients for throat and voice problems, in part because the throat is one of the more difficult areas to see for the primary care physicians.  We often use a flexible camera in the office to determine what the underlying problem is for a patient.

Here are some of the reasons you should make an appointment:

Snoring and Sleep Apnea are the most common sleep disturbances.  Evaluation includes a detailed anatomic assessment of the nose, sinuses, throat and vocal cords.  Sleep studies provide easy and accurate measures of the severity of the problem in most patients and can be done either at home or in a sleep lab..  A variety of non-surgical and surgical techniques can be used to improve these problems.  Some of these include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) , straightening the septum, tonsillectomy/uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), hyoid suspension, and base of tongue reduction.

Neck masses can occur from a wide variety of sources.  If a neck mass is not going away after 3 weeks and /or is not associated with cold symptoms, please call to come in and get it evaluated.  We often use ultrasound imaging here in our office to help us evaluate the neck mass, and perform biopsies when needed.  You do not need to have any imaging done before your appointment.

Please call Family Ear, Nose & Throat at (207) 351-3525 for more information or to schedule an appointment. 

Laryngology is the evaluation and treatment of thevoice, swallowing mechanism, and the cough reflux.  We focus on the nose, tongue, tonsils, throat and vocal cords.  Treatment can include drying up post nasal drip from the nose or sinuses, treating laryngopharyngeal  reflux (LPR), removing vocal cord lesions, and/or speech therapy.   

Hoarseness is the symptom of irritation of the vocal cords.  It is caused by many different conditions including colds and sinus infections, laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR- silent reflux), vocal misuse/abuse, benign vocal cord lesions, malignant vocal cord lesions, smoking and alcohol use, trauma and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Spasmodic dysphonia. 

Often hoarseness will resolve on its own after a few weeks of voice rest.  Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, staying hydrated, limiting alcohol and caffeine, and avoiding vocal strain are all helpful ways that often lessen hoarseness.  

When hoarseness is lasting more than 3 weeks, is associated with swallowing or breathing issues, and/or is not accompanied by cold symptoms, it is a good idea to come in and get your hoarseness checked. 

Please call Family Ear, Nose & Throat at (207) 351-3525 for more information or to schedule an appointment. 

The thyroid gland lies in the anterior neck, right in front of your airway (trachea).  It is part of the body’s metabolism regulation, secreting hormones that regulate multiple functions of the body.  Nodules often form in the thyroid.  They are often benign, but once they become greater than 1 cm in size, they should be evaluated by an ENT by ultrasound.  We do that in our office, and sometimes the nodules are biopsied by a small needle (FNA-fine needle aspirate) to check if they are benign or malignant.  Sometimes even benign nodules can grow so large that they cause compressive symptoms. 

Thyroid surgery is known as a partial or a total thyroidectomy.  This is recommended if the patient is noted to have a nodule that is concerning for thyroid cancer or if the benign nodule is getting too large.  Overall surgery is very safe.  There are some rare surgical complications that include injury to the nerves to the vocal cords resulting in hoarseness, injury to parathyroid glands resulting in a low calcium level, difficulty breathing, and the more common risks associated with all surgeries ( bleeding and infection).  

Parathyroid glands, of which there are four, lie adjacent to the thyroid.  Sometimes these glands can make too much parathyroid hormone and then one’s calcium level becomes elevated.  In that case, surgical removal of the adenoma producing too much hormone is recommended.   

Please call Family Ear, Nose & Throat at (207) 351-3525 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

The tonsils, in the back of our mouth, and adenoids, in the back of our nose, are part of our lymphatic system and probably used to serve a primitive role in our immune response.  They have no known function now.  In some patients, they start to get infected themselves or grow too large causing sleep disturbances, requiring one to see an ENT specialist.

Tonsillitis is when the tonsils get infected by bacteria or viruses.  They typically swell and often develop white patches.  Symptoms are varied but often include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, tender neck lymph nodes and bad breath.  Some patients have abdominal pain associated with tonsillitis.  If the infection is viral, it typically is self limiting and clears in about 7-10 days.  If it is bacterial, it will usually require an antibiotic.  Streptococcus bacteria are often associated with tonsillitis and your doctor will usually swab for this if tonsillitis is suspected.  

A tonsillectomy is removal of the tonsils is a very common procedure performed by our doctors.  It is routine and performed on an outpatient basis. The two most common reasons for this are when the number of tonsillitis episodes is too high, or if the tonsils are obstructive and interfering with sleep.  This procedure typically causes a substantial decrease in the number of infections, and often cures sleep-disordered breathing or sleep apnea.  The recovery from a tonsillectomy is a solid 10-14 days.  Patients who do the best drink plenty of fluids and keep on top of the pain by rotating Tylenol and ibuprofen every 4 hours and adding in small amounts of prescription pain medication if needed.

The adenoids, a soft tissue mass in the back of the nose, are present in children and typically slowly regress in young adults throughout their teenage years.  Enlarged adenoids can block airflow through the nose causing mouth breathing, drooling, and/or snoring.  The adenoids can often become infected causing chronic runny nose in many children.  Given their location, their presence can also negatively impact proper ear drainage resulting in recurrent ear infections.  

An adenoidectomy, removal of the adenoids,  is routine and performed on an outpatient basis.  Often, a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are performed together.  

Please call Family Ear, Nose & Throat at (207) 351-3525 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Vocal  cord dysfunction is also known as laryngospasm.  Instead of the vocal cords opening when we are breathing, they close making it hard for the patient to get air into their lungs.  This is, of course, very anxiety provoking.  This is more common than people think and can be treated with vocal exercises once the vocal cords are examined to rule out other causes.

Please call Family Ear, Nose & Throat at (207) 351-3525 for more information or to schedule an appointment. 

Skin cancers in the head and neck region are common as this skin is exposed to the sun over the years. Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are two common types that we often excise. If you have a skin lesion that is not healing in your head or neck region, please let us know.

35 Walker Street
Second Floor, Suite 200
York Hospital in Kittery
Kittery, ME 03904
Phone: (207) 475-0100
Fax: (855) 654-3271

Jackson-Gray Building
330 Borthwick Ave.
Suite 304
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Phone:  207-475-0100
Fax: 855-654-3271

4 West Road
Suite 4C
Stratham, NH 03885
Phone: (207) 475-0100
Fax: (855) 654-3271

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