What is a Pediatric ENT specialist?
Pediatric ENT specialist is a doctor that specializes in treating ear, nose, throat problems in children.
Why do we need specialized ENT care for children?
There are a few ENT problems that are peculiar to children. Due to their developing anatomy and evolving physiology.
Conditions may be further subdivided based on the area affected:
- Congenital ear malformations
- Acute Otitis Media
- Otitis media with effusion, aka. Glue ear.
- Furuncles in the ear or otitis externa
- Congenital deafness
- Nose and paranasal sinuses:
- Bleeding from the nose, aka. Epistaxis.
- Nose block
- Nasal deformity
- Cleft nose
- Oral cavity and throat:
- Vocal cord nodules and
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Cleft palate
- Cleft lip
- Adenoid and tonsils:
- Adenoid hypertrophy
- Tonsil infections
- Breathing disorder during sleep
- Thyroid swelling
- Thyroglossal cysts
- Parathyroid tumours
- Branchial cleft sinus/fistula/cyst
Management of Pediatric ENT problems
It’s difficult to identify problems in young children because of their inability to communicate. Ear itching and pain can present with incessant crying and child pulling at the affected ear. A child that is having disordered breathing during sleep may have slow growth. Lack of attention in school can be because of sleep apnoea in children. Sometimes the symptoms may not reflect the location of pathology. Example: otitis media (middle ear infection) is usually due to an enlarged adenoid.
Paediatric ENT specialists are attuned to picking up these issues. They are well trained in examining fussy kids. Sometimes a child specialist will refer the child to an otorhinolaryngologist for these problems.
Imaging such as MRI, CT scan and X-rays are reserved for special situations.
Nasal endoscopy is the gold standard test for ruling out adenoid hypertrophy.
Treatment of these conditions is tailored to suit the child’s needs. Choice between medical or surgical treatment is an informed decision.