What examinations does an ENT doctor do?

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As in all medical fields of activity, the examination at the ENT doctor nko Oostende begins with the anamnesis, during which the existing symptoms and the previous medical history are discussed in detail. Then the ear, nasal cavity and oral cavity are inspected. as follows:

Ear diagnostics

The auricle is examined for abnormalities such as swelling, redness or secretion. Then the ear canal and eardrum are examined with an ear microscope, whereby foreign bodies and inflammations can be detected. Injuries, changes in color and scars can be reliably identified on the eardrum.

The ENT doctor uses the so-called subjective hearing test to clarify hearing loss. A tuning fork can be used to differentiate between hearing loss due to damage to the cochlea or as a result of impaired sound conduction through the eardrum and the ossicles. To do this, a vibrating tuning fork is placed on different parts of the head and the patient is asked about the perceived volume of the tuning fork.

A tone audiometry can test the patient’s hearing in different pitches. The patient hears tones in different frequencies through headphones. The volume of the tones of the same frequency is lowered in small steps until the patient can just hear the tone. Then tones of a different frequency are tested until a complete diagram is obtained.

For newborns, there is a statutory hearing screening that tests the function of the inner ear. Certain tones are sent into the baby’s ear, which stimulate the cells in the inner ear to emit tones (otoacoustic emissions). The sounds received from the inner ear prove the functioning of the organ.

With brainstem audiometry, reactions in the brain that arise when processing auditory stimuli can be examined. For this, electrodes are glued to the patient’s head. Afterwards, short clicks are sent through headphones, which generate a measurable electrical response in certain brain regions (auditory cortex). The electrical signals are measured and evaluated by a computer so that the functionality of the auditory pathway and auditory cortex can be assessed.

Diagnostics of the nose

The ENT doctor can assess the inside of the nose through a nasal examination (rhinoscopy). The doctor pays attention to the anatomy of the nasal cavity and the nasal mucosa. For the so-called front mirroring, pliers with a funnel are used. The funnel is inserted into the nasal opening and the anterior nasal passage and nasal cavity can be examined with a small light source attached to it. With the middle mirroring, instead of a pair of pliers, a flexible tube with a camera and light source is pushed into the nose at the end. In particular, the nasal cavity can be examined well. For the rear mirror, a small mirror is inserted through the patient’s mouth and tilted so that the underside of the nasal cavity can be examined.

Rhinomanometry is performed to measure air flow through the nose. A device is used that measures the pressure difference between the nasal entrance and the nasopharynx. The result shows whether there is an obstruction to nasal breathing. To assess the nasal mucosa, a smear is taken, which is then examined under a microscope.

Neck and mouth diagnostics

The oral cavity and the upper pharynx can also be mirrored. The tongue, the floor of the mouth, the exits of the salivary glands, the dental status and the tonsils are examined. The ENT doctor also uses imaging procedures for further diagnostics. The ultrasound device is particularly suitable for this, since there is no radiation exposure and the soft tissues in the face and neck area can be clearly displayed. If the findings are unclear, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also be used.

Which operations are performed in ENT clinics?

There are many options in modern medicine for treating hearing loss and deafness. In the case of inner ear hearing loss, i.e. damage to the cochlea, but with a functioning auditory nerve and auditory pathway, the so-called cochlear implant (CI) is used for use. The CI takes over the function of the damaged cochlea, namely converting sound into electrical signals and transmitting it to the auditory nerve. During the operation, the device’s microphone and speech processor are placed on the surface of the head while an electrode is inserted into the cochlea. The microphone picks up sounds that are converted into electrical signals by the speech processor and transmitted to the auditory nerve via the electrode in the cochlea. A modification of the CI is the brain stem implant. The implanted electrode directly stimulates the first auditory nucleus in the brain stem, the cochlear nucleus, i.e. the transition point between the auditory nerve and the auditory pathway.

Hearing aids can be implanted in the event of hearing loss. A modern example of this is the middle ear implant . This converts sound into vibrations and transmits them to the ossicles. This enables a better understanding of higher tones compared to conventional hearing aids, which only amplify the sound.

A curvature of the nasal septum can be inherited or caused by z. B a broken nose . Above a certain curvature, it hinders breathing through the nose. During an operation, bits of bone or cartilage are removed under general anesthesia or the cartilage is straightened through specific incisions. In some cases, parts of the bone or cartilage are cut out and put back in after being reshaped outside the body. The aim of the operation is a central and straight nasal septum without affecting the surrounding structures. In some cases, the curvature of the nasal septum is also congenital and does not cause any symptoms. The correction of this curvature, which is visible from the outside, falls under the heading “Cosmetic operations”.

Cosmetic operations in ear, nose and throat medicine

Some ENT doctors also offer cosmetic treatments for the head and neck. This includes minor treatments such as:

  • Wrinkle injection
  • Lip filling
  • Scar treatment
  • Removal of birthmarks and fire marks

The more complex surgical interventions include:

  • Rhinoplasty
  • Ear correction
  • Chin correction

Which doctors and clinics are ENT specialists in Belgium?

In 2016, 6,273 specialists in ear, nose and throat medicine were practicing in Belgium. Most of them work in practices and provide outpatient care. In special ENT clinics, which are usually part of a hospital, interventions can be carried out with a subsequent inpatient stay.

Anyone who needs an ENT operation wants the best medical care for themselves. This is why the patient asks himself, where can I find the best ENT clinic in Belgium? Since this question cannot be answered objectively and a reputable doctor would never claim that he is the best doctor, one can only rely on the experience of a doctor. The more ENT operations a doctor performs, the more experienced he becomes in his specialty.

This means that ENT specialists are specialists and specialist clinics for ear, nose and throat medicine. Due to their experience and many years of work, they are the right contact for performing an ENT surgery.