Children are not simply little adults. They have unique problems and require a special approach for their evaluation, diagnosis, and management. Because of the high numbers of ear infections, sore throats, and snotty noses, children account for a sizeable percentage of ear, nose, and throat patients. This hold true for us at the Ear, Nose & Throat Center of Conway. Both Dr. Fraley and Dr. Kirsch regularly see and perform surgery on children of all ages. Our affiliated hospitals - Bapist Health Conway and Conway Regional Medical Center - are also well qualified to assist us in taking care of your child.
Below you will find a list and information on some of the more common pediatric ear, nose, and throat problems we treat and surgeries we perform. Call us today at 501-932-7600 for an appointment to see how we can help your family be at its best.
Painful ear infections are a part of life for most children, with the majority having experience at least one ear infection by the age of 5. However, recurrent infections or persistent fluid in the ears can lead to hearing loss, speech delay, and poor school performance. For those patients who are experiencing these problems, ear tubes may be an option. An ear tube is a tiny cylinder placed through the eardrum to drain mucus or pus and allow air into the middle ear. Standard tubes last between 6 and 18 months, but longer-term tubes exist that can last for years. Most ear tubes will come out on their own.
Ear tubes are the most common surgical procedure performed on children in the United States, with over 500,000 performed each year. These are placed under general anesthesia in an operating room with procedure time of about 15 minutes. Adenoidectomies are sometimes performed along with ear tubes in patients needing repeat tubes or with frequent nasal symptoms associated with ear infections. Tubes can also be placed in adults in the office setting without general anesthesia. Both Dr. Fraley and Dr. Kirsch have abundant experience placing and managing ear tubes. If you feel you or your child might benefit from ear tubes, call our office for an evaluation.
Two other common surgeries performed in children are tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. The tonsils are the two lumps of tissue on each side of at the back of the mouth. The adenoids sit behind the nasal cavity, above the soft palate. Tonsils and adenoids are like lymph nodes and help to fight off infections such as a cold or virus. Unfortunately, sometimes they hurt more than they help by harboring bacteria or growing excessively large. This can lead to recurrent infections, nasal obstruction, trouble swallowing, and sleep problems. Complications from tonsillitis such as abscesses, kidney problems, or rheumatic fever can also occur.
The treatment for chronic tonsillitis or obstruction from enlarged tonsil and adenoids is surgical removal. A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy is normally an outpatient procedure unless your child is very young or has some other health problems. They are done under general anesthesia and take under an hour. Although more common in children, tonsillectomies can be performed at any age. If you or your child is suffering from frequent tonsillitis or persistently large, symptomatic tonsils, then you might benefit from seeing an ENT doctor.
Information adapted from the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery