ENT stands for Ear Nose and Throat, and is also referred to as Oto(rhino)laryngology (ORL). In the UK, the ENT specialty also includes Head and Neck Surgery (HNS). It is a surgical specialty involving the diagnosis, medical and surgical management of diseases affecting these areas.
If you are thinking of embarking on a surgical career, ENT is an exciting and challenging option. It is a dynamic and varied specialty with a wide range of skills to master, from routine to highly complex. ENT encompasses a broad range of diseases in patients of all ages, from a baby with airway obstruction, to an elderly man with throat cancer. The skills needed to manage patients are therefore diverse.
Medical skills are required for accurate diagnosis and non-surgical management of conditions.
Surgical skills range from microscopic surgery for middle ear conditions, through endoscopic surgery for nasal conditions to more traditional open surgery for head and neck cancer.
Common procedures undertaken include tympanoplasty, mastoidectomy, endoscopic sinus surgery, thyroidectomy, rhinoplasty and salivary gland surgery. Tertiary referral centres undertake cochlear implantation, resection of head and neck cancers, skull base surgery and complex airway surgery.
Emergency work ranges from common conditions such as head and neck infections, epistaxis and removal of foreign bodies through to the urgent treatment of airway obstruction and penetrating neck trauma.
Due to the diversity of the caseload, ENT surgeons work closely with a range of professionals including audiologists, speech and language therapists, oncologists, endocrinologists, dermatologists, neurosurgeons, maxillofacial surgeons and plastic surgeons.
ENT surgeons may subspecialise in a number of areas, or work as generalists. The spectrum of conditions and surgery dealt with by the ENT surgeon is illustrated by this. The main subspecialties are:
Diagnosis and management of impaired hearing, removal of destructive disease of the middle ear and implantable hearing devices such as cochlear implants.
British Society of Otology
Ranges from the management of the vertiginous patient to the image-guided surgical removal of skull base tumours of the lateral and anterior skull base.
British Skull Base Society
Includes medical management of sino-nasal disease, surgical removal of benign and malignant sinus disease, functional and cosmetic septorhinoplasty and lacrimal duct surgery.
British Rhinology Society
Ranges from simple skin lesion removal and surgery for prominent ears, to resection of malignancies and reconstruction of facial defects.
Facial Plastic Surgery