The most important test is the Fibrolaryngoscopy, which consist of the insertion of a thin, flexible tube attached to a camera, into the nose, to the throat and larynx. It is a simple test which usually never requires anaesthesia and is very well tolerated, even by young children.
The vocal chords can also be inspected through a rigid tube which is inserted into the mouth, resting on the tongue (Telelaryngoscopy and Estroboscopy) and it permits us to better assess the vocal functioning.
Pharyngitis is the inflammation of the throat or pharynx which can be caused by infection, allergies, vocal overexertion, tobacco or gastric reflux. There is pain, irritation, dryness or itching in the throat, and there can also be coughing, congestion and inflammation of the lymph nodes on the neck.
After rectifying the predisposing factors, pharyngitis responds to medical treatment, although attention must always be paid to the advice of the specialist in relation to hygienic-dietary habits in order to prevent the pharyngitis from becoming chronic.
Aphonia or voice disordersz
Aphonia (or disphonia) is an alteration in the timbre and intensity of the voice due to different causes which affect the phonation organ, the larynx.
The most frequent cause is acute laryngitis which occurs because of inflammation of the vocal chords due to a catarrhal or infectious cause or vocal overuse and it is easily treated with medications and vocal rest.
If this persists for over fifteen days, especially in adult smokers, it should always be reviewed by the Otolaryngologist as it may be due to abnormal formations on the vocal chords, such as nodules, polyps, or cancer of the larynx. Surgery is necessary in these cases. Endolaryngeal Microsurgery, a quick, outpatient procedure, allows accurate diagnosis and surgical excision.
In children it is often associated with bad phonation habits (such as shouting, but we have to ruled out that it is due to a congenital lesion or because the child cannot hear well.
Acute tonsillitis and adenoids
The tonsils and adenoids are formations for the defence against upper respiratory tract infections in children. In certain cases they cause infections or tonsillitis which is manifested with pain, fever, or swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
If it occurs repeatedly, the otolaryngologist should assess the need to remove the tonsils as they can cause an infection, chronic tonsillitis, which is harmful to the development of the child.
There are criteria agreed by the majority of otolaryngologists for tonsillectomy or tonsil removal today, an intervention which is performed under general anaesthetic and under maximum safety levels for the child by anaesthetists specialized in child anaesthetics and in centers with a pediatric ICU.
Acute tonsilitis can also be a problem for adults and the specialist will always assess the need to perform surgery in order to permanently resolve the problem. After the intervention, there is no longer a risk of pharyngitis, which would have existed had the patient not been operated.
When the problem is the adenoids, the symptoms are repeated colds, nasal obstruction and snoring, repeated ear infections and hearing problems. Therefore, whenever an adenoid hypertrophy is diagnosed, the treatment is surgery.
Facial and neck tumors
Any lumps or bumps which appear on the head and neck should be inspected by a specialist, as benign conditions to malignant situations which can endanger the patient’s life can be treated. The otolaryngologist will treat, after an accurate diagnosis, all kinds of tumors which appear in the neck, from affecting the thyroid, the salivary glands, cysts which occur in children or in adulthood, to lipomas or lymphadenopathy.
Skin lesions which appear on the face and neck can also be treated by the otolaryngologist, generally after an inspection by the dermatologist.