ENT or Otolaryngology Surgery

In this Article

Otolaryngology surgery is performed on the head or neck area to treat problems of the ears, nose, or throat. It may also be called ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgery. Otolaryngologists are doctors trained to treat patients with disorders or diseases of the ear, nose, or throat. In some cases, these disorders may require surgery. Learn more about ENT surgery.


Otolaryngology [oh-toh-lar-ing-GOL-uh-jee] or ENT surgery focuses on surgically treating disorders of the ears, nose, and throat. This type of surgery is performed by an otolaryngologist, a doctor trained to treat patients with disorders and diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and other structures of the neck and face.

ENT surgery can help fix injuries or defects in these areas that cause problems such as pain, frequent infections, and breathing problems. For example, some children have ENT surgery to treat ear infections that keep coming back. ENT surgery may also be necessary to remove tumors (abnormal growths). Depending on the procedure, the surgery may be performed at a doctor’s office, outpatient facility, or hospital.

Things to Know

Common ENT disorders that may require ENT surgery include the following:

Ear problems

  • Frequent ear infections

Nose problems

  • Frequent sinus pain or infections
  • Deviated septum (when the wall between your nostrils is not straight or is off center, so that one nostril is bigger than the other)

Throat problems

  • Vocal cord disorders
  • Tonsillitis (infection of your tonsils, two pads of tissue at the back of your throat)
  • Swallowing disorders

Other head and neck problems:

  • Head or neck tumors
  • Injuries to the face

When to See a Doctor

You should see an otolaryngologist when you have a problem that falls into one of these specialty areas:

  • Allergies
  • Facial reconstruction
  • Head/neck growths or tumors
  • Throat disorders
  • Otology [oh-tol-uh-jee] (diseases of the ear)
  • Rhinology [rahy-nol-uh-jee] (diseases of the nose)

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