ENT (sometimes also referred to as otorhinolaryngology) is a subdivision of medicine that specialises in ear, nose and throat issues. ENT doctors are among some of the most versatile medical professionals given the range of issues and patients they have to treat.
What causes ear, nose and throat problems?
Unfortunately, ear, nose and throat infections are very common. While the symptoms are typically mild, the most common cause of ENT issues are infections. They will normally resolve themselves but can cause problems that require medical treatment.
Some of the more general (but no less common) symptoms of ENT include the following:
blocked sinuses and sinus pressure
loss of taste or smell
More specifically, the different symptoms include:
Ear - earache, excess wax or wax discharge, hearing loss
As ENT incorporates three different areas of the body, there is a wide range of conditions that can occur. Here we explore some of the most common, their symptoms, and their severity.
Among the most common conditions to affect the ear are glue ear and general infections. Glue ear is where the ear canal fills up with fluid. This issue usually clears up within a few months but can cause hearing loss. If the problem persists or you suffer from hearing loss as a result of glue ear, you should see your GP. Another issue is ear infections. The symptoms of an ear infection are earache, hearing loss or a feeling of pressure in the ear. Infections can clear up within a few days but if symptoms persist, your doctor may need to prescribe medicine.
Some of the most common conditions that affect the nose are allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, nosebleeds, and deviated septums. Allergy medications can help to alleviate blocked and irritated nasal passages while nosebleeds can normally be successfully treated by using sprays and gels. Surgery is often needed to correct a deviated septum which involves trimming, repositioning and, in some cases, the use of facial plastics.
The most common throat conditions are:
Tonsillitis - usually caused by a viral infection and is common among children, teenagers and young adults. The symptoms include a sore throat and difficulty swallowing
Head and neck cancer - symptoms may include lump(s) in the neck or a sore throat that doesn’t resolve itself. These cancers may form in a range of different places but those in the thyroid gland aren’t considered head and neck cancer
Croup - a condition that specifically affects children. Croup can affect the windpipe (trachea), the lungs (the bronchi) and the voice box (larynx). The condition produces a distinctive barking cough
Laryngitis - causes inflammation to the voice box. Usually, the symptoms of hoarseness will clear up after about a week.
When to seek treatment for ENT issues
You should seek treatment for ENT issues if you experience the following:
persistent ear pain
a persistent sore throat
Aside from these symptoms, ENT specialists will also be able to help you with head and neck tumours, allergies, asthma and persistent nosebleeds.
Types of ENT surgery and treatment
Just as ENT issues span a wide range of different conditions, the number of treatments available are numerous. Take a look below to explore how the different ENT conditions can be treated.
This is a quick operation to remove the adenoids, small lumps of tissue located above the tonsils. Adenoids are part of the immune system and are only present in children. They may need to be removed due to infection or allergies.
Watery eyes can be caused by blocked tear ducts. The procedure is done to unblock the tear duct system and improve the symptoms of watery eye. It is done through the nostrils and no cut on the face is necessary.
Diagnostic endoscopic exam nasopharynx
This procedure uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a light source to analyse and diagnose conditions of the area where the nose and throat connect.
Ear wax removal
Ear wax is a natural bodily secretion which, if it builds up, can cause problems with hearing, ear ache, tinnitus and dizziness. In most cases it removes itself, but in others it may have to be removed by a trained ENT health professional.
A procedure involving the surgical removal of a lump or bump from the external ear, to aid diagnosis and treatment of a condition.
Excision of nasal septum lesion
The septum is the anatomical structure dividing the nasal cavity into two halves. Lesions may be caused by a range of conditions, including trauma, infection or tumours. Removing the lesion can aid biopsy and improves nasal breathing.
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS)
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS), sometimes referred to as intranasal ethmoidectomy, is a procedure used to improve the drainage of mucus from the sinuses. Usually carried out under general anaesthetic, a small endoscope is inserted into the nose to view the sinuses, and small surgical instruments are used to remove any growths or extra tissue.
This procedure takes place under general anaesthetic and involves making an opening into a blocked sinus caused by infection. The procedure enables the sinus to drain properly and relieves any pain.
This procedure treats infections in the sinus cavities between the eyes and along the sides of the nose. Surgical tools are used that enter the body through the nose and any infected tissue or bone is removed.
A procedure that enables examination, under general anaesthetic, of the larynx or voice box. It is commonly used to diagnose problems with the voice, swallowing or breathing.
Mini FESS / ethmoidectomy
A minor version, often used on children, of functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) which is used to treat severe problems with the sinuses. The surgery is all done inside the nose while the patient is under general anaesthetic.
Myringotomy and grommet fitting
A procedure whereby a tiny cut is made in the ear drum to relieve built up fluid in the middle ear. If thick fluid is present, a tiny plastic tube – a grommet – is placed in the hole to allow air to pass through, drying up any fluid.
Nasal polyps can arise due to chronic nasal and sinus infection. They are removed to improve nasal breathing. Most of the time they are removed as part of Endoscopic Sinus Surgery.
An investigative technique where a flexible endoscope is used to look inside the nasal space and also to analyse from above how the palate is working during speech and swallowing.
Operation on frontal sinus
This procedure is used on patients with acute or chronic infection of the frontal sinusitis. It can prevent life-threatening complications when the infection is unresponsive to maximal medical treatment.
A surgical procedure to remodel the cartilage of the ear to position the ear closer to the head.
Polypectomy of internal nose
Nasal polyps can arise due to chronic nasal and sinus infection. They aren’t cancerous and can be removed via a polypectomy.
Reduction of nasal turbinates
There are usually three sets of turbinate bones in the nose: inferior, middle and superior turbinates. Enlargement of these may cause nasal obstruction. Reduction in the size of the turbinates improves nasal breathing.
Repair of eardrum
Eardrum damage can be caused by infection, trauma or the placing of grommets. There are various surgical procedures to correct damage to the eardrum and these can take anything from 30 minutes to three hours.
Repair of fractured nose / MUA of nasal bone
Simple nasal fractures can be repaired by manipulation under local or general anaesthetic. The optimum time to manipulate the bones back to their original position is in the second week post-injury.
Rhinoplasty is surgery to repair or change the shape of the nose for cosmetic reasons or to correct a structural abnormality caused by injury or birth defect.
A quick surgical procedure to straighten the nasal septum – the partition between the two cavities – to improve airflow. The surgery can take place under local or general anaesthetic.
This is an operation to reshape the bones, cartilage and septum to improve breathing and may also improve the appearance of the nose.
Submucous diathermy SMD turbinates
There are three sets of turbinate bones in the nose: inferior, middle and superior turbinates. Enlargement of these may cause nasal obstruction. SMD involves shrinking these structures using heat energy.
Tonsillitis can be caused by a viral infection such as the common cold or flu (and this is the most frequent cause) or by a bacterial infection which can cause complications.
A procedure to remove some or all of the turbinate bones in the nose to help relieve nasal obstruction.
A procedure to reconstruct the eardrum or the small bones of the middle ear, the ossicles. If needed, grafts are usually taken from the lobe of the ear or tissue located behind or above the ear.
This surgical procedure is used to remove tissue in the throat. This may include the soft palate, tonsils, adenoids or pharynx. The procedure is recommended for obstructive sleep apnea to widen the airway.
ENT surgery recovery and aftercare
Recovery times and the level of aftercare needed will depend entirely on the type of ENT surgery you’ve had. For example, sinus surgery patients typically return to work one or two weeks after the operation. They will likely feel fully back to normal after around a month. Recovery from an adenoidectomy takes up to two weeks, and the operation itself only lasts for half an hour.
Aftercare often includes medication and rest to give the best chance of a speedy and full recovery.
Private ear, nose and throat specialists near me
At Practice Plus Group, our ENT specialists operate at five different locations around the UK. These locations are:
What do ENT specialists do?
Our Practice Plus Group ENT specialists offer the following procedures:
Ear wax removal
What happens at an ENT appointment?
An ENT appointment will depend entirely on the nature of the complaint. Typically, ENT consultants will perform a physical and visual examination to determine the issue. This will usually include examining your ears, nose and throat. Other areas such as the neck, cheekbones, and face may also be examined if needed. Depending on the outcome of the appointment, the consultant may refer you to ENT surgeons.
ENT surgery costs
The cost of private ENT surgery depends entirely on the type of condition you have and the location of the hospital in which you’re seeking treatment. In the UK, a private ENT surgery consultation without insurance typically costs between £200 and £300.
To give a comparison, at Circle Group, a Tonsillectomy costs £3,300 including the consultation. Whereas Practice Plus Group charges £2,430 for the same procedure.
ENT ear surgery costs
The average cost of otoplasty (procedure to change the shape or positioning of the ears) in the UK is £3,500 - £3,750.
ENT nose surgery costs
Typically, private ENT nose surgery in the UK costs between £1,000 - £6,500 depending on the procedure. For example, at New Victoria, a septoplasty costs £2,805 while sinus surgery costs £3,540.
ENT throat surgery costs
The cost of private ENT throat surgery depends on the type of procedure needed, but the cost seems to range from around £2,000 to £6,500. At New Victoria, a parathyroidectomy (surgery to remove a parathyroid gland) costs £6,245, while tonsillectomy for an adult costs £2,497. The same procedure at Practice Plus Group is slightly cheaper at £2,430.
At Practice Plus Group, we offer fast access to high-quality ENT surgery via self-pay, insured and NHS routes. Before you schedule a consultation, you may also wish to learn a little more about ENT treatment through our FAQs section below.
Ways to pay
There are 3 ways to access surgery at Practice Plus Group:
Find ear, nose and throat hospitals and specialists near you
ENT treatment and surgery is available at five Practice Plus Group locations.
At Practice Plus Group Hospitals we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after.
ENT surgery FAQs
Haven’t quite found what you’re looking for? Our FAQs can help! Take a look below for more information about ENT surgery and treatment.
Among the most common ENT surgeries are:
Rhinoplasty (nose job surgery)
Otoplasty (ear pinning surgery)
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery)
Sleep disorder surgery
Removal of tonsils
Insertion of grommets
As with any major surgery, ENT procedures carry risk. Bleeding, infection and a negative reaction to anaesthetic are among the most common. Scarring can also be a risk, however this is dependent on the type of ENT surgery a patient receives. For example, patients who undergo ENT nose surgery are much more at risk of permanent scarring than ENT throat patients receiving a tonsillectomy.
Generally, ENT surgery doesn’t cause high levels of pain. The most painful are tonsillectomies as reported by past patients. During ENT operations, anaesthetic is administered when needed. Pain is generally mild and can be alleviated by medication.