Diagnosis of General ENT Conditions
For ear infections, a device called an otoscope allows the ear specialist to have a closer view inside the ear to check for signs of irritation and mucus build-up. If discharge is present, a sample may be collected to test for the presence of bacteria and virus.
Allergic rhinitis is diagnosed through a skin prick test, where the skin is exposed to various substances to identify the allergen that triggers the symptoms. A radioallergosorbent test (RAST) may also be done to check the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in the blood.
For suspected sinusitis, an ENT clinic typically provides various imaging scan technology as well as laboratory tests that can help determine if there are structural abnormalities or blockages in the sinuses. The nose doctor may use an endoscope to examine the sinuses, as well as obtain a sample for further assessment.
Sore throats are mainly diagnosed through visual and physical examinations, which include looking at the throat and feeling the neck for swollen lymph nodes. A throat swab may sometimes be collected by the throat specialist to determine if the condition is caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
Sleep apnea is more complex and may require overnight monitoring using a nocturnal polysomnography to better observe breathing patterns and other body functions during sleep. This includes monitoring the heart, blood oxygen levels, periodic limb movements, and brain and lung activity.
Treatment of General ENT Conditions
Most ENT conditions, including mild ear infections, sore throat and sinusitis, typically go away on their own with little to no treatment required. Conditions caused by viral infections are typically treated symptomatically, while those caused by bacterial infections require antibiotics. Mild symptoms such as pain and swelling may be alleviated through home remedies and over-the-counter medicines. In more serious cases, however, ENT surgery may be required.
Regarding allergic rhinitis, symptoms normally go away once the allergen is removed. For sleep apnea, aside from diet and lifestyle changes, medical devices and oral appliances such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can help keep the airways open during sleep.
Additionally, foreign objects inside the ears, nose and throat require immediate removal by the ENT surgeon. Removal methods include using a pair of forceps or a suction catheter, or through water irrigation. Breathing problems, on the other hand, may be treated via medication, or in more serious cases, a tracheostomy, which is a procedure where a hole is created in the windpipe to facilitate breathing.
ENT Centre CC Lau provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of Paediatric ENT and General ENT conditions, including allergies, hearing disorders, sleep apnea, as well as nasal and sinus disorders. Contact us at 6235-9535 to find out more about ENT conditions and treatments.