We diagnose and treat various conditions of the throat, including swallowing disorders and voice conditions.
Recurrent Sore Throat
If you have a sore throat that just won’t go away or is frequent, you may have something more serious than a common cold. There may be a number of reasons why you have a recurrent sore throat such as:
- Inflammation or infection of the tonsils or adenoids.
- Inflammation of the epiglottis
- Inflammation of the uvula
- Irritants in the form of smoking, GERD, or allergies
This is just a short list of possible conditions for the symptoms of a sore throat. If you have a recurrent sore throat, you should consult a physician.
Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy
Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy are the removal of tonsils or adenoids. These surgeries are generally performed to treat sleep apnea in cases where the tonsils of adenoids are causing blockages to the airway during sleep. Improvements to snoring, coughing and colds are generally expected after surgery, as well as improved sleeping patterns.
The physical reflex of swallowing is something that many people take for granted throughout their lives. Not much attention is paid to it until a problem manifests. Swallowing problems usually occur in the elderly, people who have had a stroke, or in people suffering from chronic neurological disease such as Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. However, sometimes a person who is otherwise healthy may develop difficulties swallowing due to a variety of different causes. For example, persistent reflux can yield difficulties swallowing.
Swallowing involves two basic issues:
- Protection of the airway
- Transportation of the food
GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return. Therefore, gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus.
In normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus.
Inflammation, nodules/polyps may cause hoarseness. Such voice changes or dysphonia for greater than 2-3 weeks must be investigated. A sense of urgency is embraced, especially if the patient consumes alcohol or uses tobacco in any form.
Vocal Cord Nodules
Vocal cord nodules are benign (noncancerous) growths on the vocal cords that are generally caused by vocal abuse. Over time, repeated abuse of the vocal cords results in soft, swollen spots on each vocal cord. These spots develop into harder, callous-like growths called nodules. The nodules will become larger and stiffer the longer the vocal abuse continues.
Vocal Cord Paralysis
Vocal Cord Paralysis is caused when one or both of your vocal cords is no long able to move. There are two types of Vocal Cord Paralysis, Bilateral and Unilateral. Bilateral Vocal Cord Paralysis is when both vocal cords stop moving and Unilateral Vocal Cord Paralysis is when only one vocal cord stops moving. Bilateral paralysis is often medically treated and may require a tracheotomy to allow the person to eat safely. Unilateral paralysis can be treated medically and/or behaviorally.