ASK•A•DOC: New procedures available for ears, nose and throat
By Dr. Tim Jones
Sleep apnea is a increasingly prevalent medical condition. The most common treatment involves sleeping with a mask over your face or in your nose in order to apply air pressure to keep the throat from collapsing when one is sleeping. The treatment, know as nasal CPAP, can be difficult to tolerate for many people.
There is a new FDA-approved surgical alternative to patients who cannot tolerate nasal CPAP. A pacemaker device (InspireSleep.com) is used to open the airway when you are sleeping, allowing one to sleep without the use of the CPAP machine. To learn more about this option, schedule an appointment with one of our sleep medicine physicians to discuss all of your options.
Advances in digital imaging and computer technology over the past 10 years have changed the way medicine is practiced. Now, endoscopic procedures that are minimally invasive are becoming preferred treatment for many surgical specialties.
Endoscopic procedures are generally more patient-friendly and have shorter recovery time.
Sinus-imaging and Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Endoscopic technology was first introduced for sinus surgery in the late 1980s. Endoscopic sinus surgery, referred to as FESS, has allowed ENT surgeons to perform sinus surgery entirely through the nose with better visualization, more accurate diagnosis of disease and better outcomes. More recently, endoscopic sinus surgery has been further advanced by the incorporation of sinus imaging. Sinus imaging allows the patient’s sinus CT scan to be displayed on a video monitor during surgery. Using specialized surgical instruments that are “trackable” by the system, the surgeon is able to know the patient’s precise anatomy and location of disease. The result is safer surgery, faster recovery and even better patient outcomes.
Endoscopic Salivary Gland Surgery – Sialoendoscopy
Saliva provides the lubrication of the mouth and throat and aids in taste, chewing and swallowing. Most of the saliva is saliva produced by four major salivary glands: two in the cheek, called parotids glands, and two in the neck, called submandibular glands. When functioning normally, each gland makes saliva and the saliva is transferred inside the mouth by way of a 1- to 2-millimeter tube called a duct. For reasons not fully understood, some people form stones in the salivary glands. These stones, if large enough, can obstruct the duct, causing a backup of saliva in the gland. This produces swelling, pain and often infection. If the stones are not removed, the symptoms can recur and result in long term problems.
Until recently, surgical removal of the blocked gland was the only treatment option for treating recurrent salivary gland stones. Now, there are endoscopes as small as a piece of spaghetti that allow ENT surgeons to look in the salivary gland ducts and remove the stones. With this new digital technology and technique, patients can have a simple, minimally-invasive endoscopy procedure and have the stones removed. This reduces the need to have major surgery to remove the gland removed, and the saliva function is retained.
Tim Jones, MD, can be reached at: St. Mary’s ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery, 330 S. 5th St., Suite 401, Enid, OK, 580.249.3898. Dr. Jones is a board certified in both ENT and Plastic Surgery.