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Otolaryngology Basics

What is Otolaryngology?

Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery is the oldest medical specialty in the United States. Commonly referred to as “ENT/Head and Neck Surgery,” Otolaryngology is a surgical specialty dedicated to an anatomical region and includes the diagnosis and management of disorders affecting the ears, sinuses, nose, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, thyroid and parathyroid glands, as well as skin cancers that affect this area.

What is an Otolaryngologist?

Otolaryngologists, or Head and Neck surgeons, have completed a 5-year surgical residency in this field. The majority of Otolaryngologists at Wake Forest Baptist have completed additional training with fellowships in areas of their sub-specialization such as cancer, skull base surgery, ear surgery and disease, voice and swallowing disorders, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and pediatric surgery. Areas of Otolaryngologist expertise include:

Wake Forest Baptist Otolaryngologists, or ENT/Head and Neck surgeons, are certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Learn more about our physicians.

Common Otolaryngology Symptoms

Diseases of the head and neck area are common and are frequently managed by primary care physicians. Otolaryngology is a valuable resource for those complex or hard to resolve problems requiring the focus of this subspecialty. Common problems that often require medical care in Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Chronic sinusitis and associated allergies
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Noisy breathing and shortness of breath
  • Chronic balance disorders
  • Snoring or sleep apnea
  • Skin lesions/cancers
  • Facial cosmetic concerns or deformities
  • Neck or thyroid masses
  • Recurrent ear infections, tonsillitis, and/or nasal obstruction in children

Wake Forest Baptist Otolaryngologists/Head and Neck surgeons also routinely treat more complex and less common problems that require specialized care and training found in an academic medical center.

  • Head and neck cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Parathyroid adenoma
  • Pediatric head and neck tumors
  • Spasmodic dysphonia and other neurological conditions affecting the voice
  • Voice problems in the professional or in those who sing
  • Restoration of voice due to cancer or injury
  • Traumatic injuries to the head and neck
  • Reconstruction of head and neck defects from congenital deformity, cancer surgery or trauma

What to Expect at the First Visit

The ENT/Head and Neck Surgery team at Wake Forest Baptist is committed to providing a patient-friendly experience, from your initial office visit to any return appointments you may have. We are focused on delivering individualized, expert medical care in a comfortable environment. At the first visit, you can expect to:

  • Complete administrative paperwork
  • Discuss your medical history and symptoms with the physician
  • Have ears, nose, throat, neck or head examined by the physician, depending on symptoms
  • Plan next steps for follow-up treatment, if necessary

Make an Otolaryngology Appointment

Request an appointment online or contact us at 336-716-WAKE (9253).


Quick Reference

ENT/Head and Neck Surgery

Adult Clinic 336-716-4161
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Last Updated: 08-01-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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