June 16, 2016

Throat & Neck Disorders

Most of us experience periodic sore throats that often resolve on their own. However, sometimes there are other reasons for sore throats that may be an indication of a more serious problem that warrants seeing your doctor or ENT specialist.

Esophageal Disorders

Transnasal flexible esophagoscopy is presently the most advantageous method for detecting and diagnosing numerous swallowing and esophageal disorders. Unlike its predecessors, trans-nasal (introduced through the nose) esophagoscopy does not require anesthesia and can be done in the office. Otolaryngologists at the Broomfield campus perform this cutting edge procedure in the suite. It’s benefits include a reduction in potential risk factors associated with less innovative procedures, a shortened recovery period, and the most advanced technological efficiencies in this field. Ideal candidates for transnasal esophagoscopy may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Heartburn that doesn’t respond to antacid medication/dietary adaptations
  • Strictures (narrowing of the esophagus)
  • Chronic cough with no identifiable cause
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux symptoms that don’t respond to typical treatment options
  • Constant sensation of a lump in ones throat (globus pharyngeus)
  • Hoarseness

These symptoms may be indicative of infection, inflammatory disease, carcinomas, malignant/non malignant lesions, etc. Because esophageal cancer is among the fastest growing cancers in the United States, early diagnosis and treatment is critical. Approximately 17,000 cases erupt per year in the Unites States alone, and effect men 4 times as much as women. Other maladies such as undiagnosed laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) can greatly contribute to the development of esophageal cancers. It is therefor important to address every esophageal and swallowing concern for the patient. Dr King is committed to identifying, diagnosing, and treating all forms of esophageal and swallowing for the benefit of patients and their families.

Why Choose Us?

As head and neck surgeons, our providers use state-of-the-art endoscopy equipment to help diagnose and treat your throat concerns. We understand these symptoms are uncomfortable and sometimes worrisome. Let us help make the right diagnosis. Together we’ll determine the best treatment plan for you.

Laser Procedures

Peak ENT and Voice Center is equipped with state-of-the art equipment to treat a variety of voice, airway and swallowing disorders.

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Throat

Most of us experience periodic sore throats that often resolve on their own. However, sometimes there are other reasons for sore throats that may be an indication of a more serious problem that warrants seeing your doctor or ENT specialist.

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Strep Throat

Perhaps the most common affliction associated with the throat is known as Streptococcal bacterial infection. It is typically located on the surface of the skin and inside of the throat. Though unpleasant, it is not considered life threatening. Symptoms often include:

  • Pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx)
  • Tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils)
  • Fever of 101 degrees or higher
  • Discomfort when swallowing
  • Blisters on the skin
  • Painful, swollen or hot areas of the affected skin
  • Middle ear infection
  • Sinusitis
  • Scarlet fever (involving a widespread, pink-red rash with a rough, sandpaper like feel)

Strep throat is considered extremely contagious and may be spread through touch, shared foods and fluids, or inadequate hygiene. Though incubation lasts only 3-5 days, consultation with a health care professional immediately after symptoms occur in order to prevent spreading and complications is advised.

Diagnosis of Step throat is performed through a throat culture. Treatment may take several weeks, however is usually accomplished with the use of antibiotics. The full cycle of antibiotics must be taken in order for complete treatment, even if symptoms begin to subside earlier than anticipated.

In rare cases, individuals may experience recurring Streptococcus Infections, in which case a surgical procedure known as A Tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils) can provide permanent relief. If you suffer frequent infections, please contact our office to discuss treatment options with a team of highly trained health care professionals.

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Tonsils & Adenoid Infections

Tonsils are the two masses of soft tissue located at the back of the throat. Part of the immune system, they act as a filter for the throat, preventing infection. In the event they themselves become infected, a sore throat, headache, pain, and inflammation may occur. This is known as tonsillitis. The adenoids reside in the high back of the throat with in the same region of the tonsils. They also serve the body’s immune system by filtering out harmful germs and pathogens. Bacteria and viruses may also infect the adenoids, an event known as adenoiditis (inflammation of the adenoids). Such infections (typically the result of a Streptococcus Bacterial Infection) are common during childhood and generally resolve in a matter of days or weeks, particularly with the use of antibiotics.

With acknowledgement to the rarity of serious complications regarding the tonsils and adenoids, chronic or recurring infections do occur in some individuals. The most direct and effective treatment in such cases may be tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils) or an adenoidectomy (removal of the adenoids) in order to prevent further infections. This method is also a commonly recommended solution for children suffering from chronic ear infections.

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Laryngitis

The larynx, most commonly referred to as the “voice box”, is the location of the vocal chords and thereby responsible for all verbal expression and speech. Laryngitis, or inflammation of the voice box, results in distortion and hoarseness of the voice. It is often accompanied by irritation, difficulty breathing or a cough. Laryngitis may result from either bacterial or viral infections, though viral is the more common constituent. Due to the versatility of these symptoms, further evaluation can help identify the catalyst and assist in developing a treatment plan.

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Epiglottitis

The epiglottis is the flap of cartilage located and the root of the tongue. It serves to protect the windpipe from food while swallowing so it does not enter the lungs. Epiglottitis is the swelling or inflammation of the epiglottis. Due to its location and function, inflammation of the epiglottis is potentially life threatening and should be regarded seriously. Common causes include injury to the throat, infection, burns due to hot liquid entering the throat, bacterial infections in the blood stream such as pneumonia and meningitis, and in children, Haemophilus influenzae type b. Should you experience difficulty swallowing or breathing in this area, please contact a health care professional immediately to address the issue.

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Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Snoring occurs when the tongue and other muscles in the back of the throat relax while sleeping, which narrows or blocks the airway. Mouth-breathing causes the uvula and palate to vibrate against the back of the throat that produces the snoring sound.

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Thyroid & Parathyroid Disease

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that resides at the base of the neck and produces hormones that regulate important bodily functions such as temperature and metabolism. Thyroid hormone is normally tightly regulated, but abnormal levels of thyroid hormone result in thyroid disease: overproduction (hyperthyroidism) and underproduction (hypothyroidism).

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Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism results from excess thyroid hormone circulating in the blood. Symptoms include a feeling of speeding up or nervousness, shaky hands, rapid heartbeat, sweatiness, red or itchy skin, frequent bowel movements, weight loss and weakness or fatigue.

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Thyroid Nodules & Goiter

A thyroid nodule is an abnormal growth on the thyroid. A goiter is a swelling of the thyroid gland itself. Thyroid nodules are usually benign – only about 5% of nodules end up being cancer. Most thyroid nodules are small, don’t cause any symptoms, and are difficult to detect.

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Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is usually recognized by enlarged masses in the neck and/or evaluating known thyroid nodules. A benign thyroid nodule is called an adenoma. Diagnostic tests used to identify thyroid cancer are the same as nodules: neck ultrasound and a needle biopsy.

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Parathyroid Disorders

Similar to the thyroid diseases, disorders of the parathyroid glands result from over or under production of parathyroid hormone (PTH). The parathyroid glands, pituitary gland, intestinal tract and kidneys play a vital role in regulating calcium and PTH levels. Therefore, parathyroid disorders can result from failure in any of these body systems.

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Head & Neck Cancer

Cancers in the head and neck are relatively uncommon, and most are highly associated with tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Head and neck cancers overall are more common in men than women. Like many cancers, they are also generally curable if caught early.

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Pharyngeal Cancer

The pharynx is a tube-like structure that goes from the back of the nose down to the windpipe and esophagus. These cancers are more commonly referred to as “throat cancers” and can originate in the back of the nose, tonsils or lower throat just above the esophagus.

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Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancers involve the structures around the voice box including the vocal cords. Symptoms are often similar to pharyngeal cancers discussed above and include painful swallowing, trouble breathing, ear pain, a lump in the neck, persistent coughing, and hoarseness or changes in voice quality. The vast majority are also “squamous cell carcinomas.”

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Oral & Tongue Cancer

Oral and tongue cancers appear as red or white patches along the lining of the mouth or small ulcers that look like persistent canker sores. Oral cancers usually form on the tongue or floor of the mouth, but can occur on any tissue in and around the mouth including the palate and lips.

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Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States. Esophageal cancer is also correlated with tobacco and alcohol use, and in some cases long-term uncontrolled acid reflux (GERD) can be a risk factor.

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Other Head & Neck Cancer

Sinus & Nasopharyngeal Cancers usually present with nasal breathing obstruction, facial pain or headaches and frequent nose bleeds. These are rare cancers, but need to be differentiated from chronic sinusitis.

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