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Ear, nose & throat (ENT) surgery

Expert assessment and treatment for Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) conditions

Have you ever had a nose so blocked you couldn’t breathe through it? Or perhaps you've experienced a constant ringing in your ears? Or maybe dizzy spells that put you completely out of action?

These conditions represent just a tiny sample of all the things that can go wrong with our ears and noses before we even think of looking at conditions that affect our throats.

However, the reason these three areas of our head have become a specialism in their own right in terms of all things medical is because of the close connections they share with each other.

The ear, nose, and throat departments of hospitals (abbreviated ENT) is one of the busiest departments when it comes to medical conditions, not least because perhaps the most common virus of all is the common cold.

Whilst the first port of call for most of us is our GP or NHS practice, if anything needs investigating further or is proving difficult to diagnose, it's likely your GP will refer you to a specialist.

That may be through the NHS, or if you have medical insurance or want to pay privately, you may well get referred to the ENT department at Werndale Hospital. In which case we will be in contact with you directly to arrange an appointment with one of our ENT specialists.

But you may also have been suffering for months (or even years) with an ear, nose, or throat condition and want to get it seen to as fast as possible, in which case we are more than happy to help too. You can find out more by calling Werndale Hospital on 01267 225600.

There are many conditions that affect our ability to breathe through our nose, the most common of which is sinusitis. However, sinusitis is usually cured by medication (e.g., a nasal spray, the most potent being a steroidal spray), and any problems associated with this rarely go beyond your GP.

But if nothing is working and your sinusitis becomes chronic, then sometimes surgery can help.

The sinuses consist of small hollow areas in the front of your skull situated in the forehead, between the eyes, and in your cheeks.

The blockage of any of these areas can lead to many conditions including headaches, soreness, high temperature, blocked nose, and even bad breath. The causes can be viral, bacterial, fungal, or even physical so identifying the cause is not just part of the diagnosis, it also helps inform the best course of action to take to cure the problem. 

Another common condition of the nose is the growth of polyps. A polyp is an inflammation of the lining of the nose that causes small growths in and around the nasal passages.

Around 20% to 40% of people with polyps also suffer from asthma according to research carried out by ENT UK, a registered charity and membership organisation for ENT surgeons and related medical professionals.

Although polyps are often associated with allergies, the underlying cause is not known. The polyps contain inflammatory liquid and are more common in men. They tend to occur more in middle age than in later years, and are fairly rare in children.

They can also be the cause of a blocked nose or difficulty in breathing as the nasal passage becomes narrower, and the loss of smell, a runny nose, and sneezing are also signs that polyps may be present. 

Nosebleeds are very common and often related to dryness in the nose. Medications that thin the blood as well as growths in the nose can also be a cause (although the latter is very rare).

Damage to the nose through an accident or other trauma are of course also common causes of nosebleed, but these usually recover with very little intervention. 

A rare condition of the ear is cholesteatoma, where a cyst like growth forms in the middle ear. Although rare, surgery is almost always required as it can affect your balance and hearing if left untreated for any length of time.

It can also cause nerve damage to the face, resulting in some paralysis, and can also cause infection to the brain due to its proximity to that organ. 

Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is far more common and is said to affect 1 in 10 people, although research has shown that anyone can get it. It's not just ringing, it can also be hissing sounds, whistling, or any number of other sounds.

For most tinnitus sufferers, it tends to come and go, and occurs more often in quieter locations. It can also disappear completely, without any medical intervention. However, if it starts to interfere with your lifestyle, your GP may refer you to a specialist.

Depending on how bad the tinnitus is or if it's associated with loss of hearing, surgery is a possibility. If you are suffering from tinnitus and want to find out more, please do contact the ENT department at Werndale to discuss how we can help. 

There are many causes for people to lose their hearing, but for most of us it is just a part of growing old. However, sometimes we can experience a sudden loss of hearing. This is usually related to either nerve damage in the ear or damage such as a hole in the ear drum.

Another, but much rarer condition of the ear is otosclerosis. This can cause hearing loss and is thought to be at least partially hereditary. It can take years to develop and sometimes causes tinnitus as the hearing fails.

Should you be referred by your GP to Werndale Hospital for further investigation of otosclerosis, surgery may be an option, although for many a hearing aid is all that is needed. 

Persistent unexplained neck lumps in adults, especially if they have been going on for more than 3 weeks, need to be investigated in a hospital. Specialist equipment including ultrasound and MRI scans are used to ensure diagnosis is as accurate as possible.

Neck lumps can also be caused by conditions such as salivary gland stones or other benign lumps within the same glands. The ENT department at Werndale specialises in offering management of all neck lumps with a multidisciplinary team ready at hand should it be necessary. 

Skin cancers are mostly caused by ultraviolet light from the sun. Ultraviolet light causes damage to the DNA in the skin which results in cell mutations some of which may become cancerous. They then divide and destroy normal healthy cells, the signs of which are often seen in the form of changes in skin colour as well as abnormal growths.

If you have moles on your skin, it's important to keep an eye on them for any changes to their size or shape. Moles that do change shape or size, especially if they start to bleed is a strong signal of melanoma (a type of skin cancer).

Another common type of cancer that can be found on the face and neck (as well as other sun exposed parts of the body) is basal cell carcinoma. This varies greatly in appearance from person to person, from darker coloured flat shapes to small shiny lumps. 

As you can imagine, there are a great many different treatments available for the numerous conditions that can affect our ears, nose, and throats, from medicines to surgery. 

After your initial consultation, our specialists will give you all the options you have including any risks so you can make an informed decision on what to do next.

Should you require an operation at Werndale Hospital that requires an overnight or longer stay, you will have complete privacy in one of our private rooms, each of which includes en-suite facilities as well as 24 hour medical supervision.

For most operations, you will usually be fit enough to return home the same day. If you have any concerns or worries, or would like to speak with us about an appointment or consultation, please call 01267 225600

Specialists offering Ear, nose & throat (ENT) surgery

Mr Vinod Prabhu

Consultant ENT & Head & Neck Surgeon

MBBS, DLO, DOHNS (England), MRCS (Edinburgh), FRCS(ORL-HNS) Edinburgh

BMI Werndale Hospital

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