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ENT - Otorhinolaryngology (ORL) | Counties Manukau | Te Whatu Ora

Public Service, ENT/ Head & Neck Surgery

Description

Formerly Counties Manukau Health ENT - Otorhinolaryngology (ORL)

Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery (ENT) is also known as Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.  This area of medicine is concerned with disorders of the ear, nose, throat, the head and the neck.

ENT Surgeons (or otorhinolaryngologists) are specialist doctors who deal with medical and surgical treatment of conditions of the ears, nose, throat and structures of the head and neck.

ENT services provided at Module Three, Manukau SuperClinic™ include:

  • Daily outpatient clinics where booked patients are seen by a doctor or Ear Nurse Specialist
  • Emergency treatment and assessment for referred stable, acute patients

Consultants

Doctors

Referral Expectations

E-referrals only

Charges

There are no charges for services to public patients if you are lawfully in New Zealand and meet one of the Eligibility Directions specified criteria set by the Ministry of Health. If you do not meet the criteria, you will be required to pay for the full costs of any medical treatment you receive during your stay.

To check whether you meet the specified eligibility criteria, visit the Ministry of Health website.

For any applicable charges, please phone the Accounts Receivable Office on (09) 276 0060.

Procedures / Treatments

Acoustic Neuroma

This is a slow-growing, benign (non-cancerous) overgrowth of tissue on the nerves that affect your hearing and balance. When the neuroma is small, there may either be no symptoms or you may have a slight hearing loss or mild tinnitus (ringing/clicking/buzzing noises in your ear). As the neuroma grows and exerts pressure on the nerves, there will be a more noticeable loss of hearing, more tinnitus and problems with balance. The condition is diagnosed using hearing tests and MRI or CT scans. Acoustic neuromas are usually found only in one ear and generally occur in people over 40 years of age. Treatment If the neuroma is small and not causing significant problems, you may not receive any treatment but the growth and effects of the neuroma will be monitored regularly. If treatment is being considered, it is usually surgery but occasionally radiotherapy. Radiotherapy, which is used for small to medium neuromas, involves low-dose beams of radiation aimed at the neuroma. This does not require anaesthesia but you will probably be in hospital for 1-2 days. For larger neuromas that are causing significant problems, surgical treatment may be suggested. Depending on the size of the neuroma, there are several different types of operation that can be performed. Whatever surgical approach is used, it will be performed under general anaesthetic (you will sleep through it) and you will probably remain in hospital for about one week.

This is a slow-growing, benign (non-cancerous) overgrowth of tissue on the nerves that affect your hearing and balance. When the neuroma is small, there may either be no symptoms or you may have a slight hearing loss or mild tinnitus (ringing/clicking/buzzing noises in your ear). As the neuroma grows and exerts pressure on the nerves, there will be a more noticeable loss of hearing, more tinnitus and problems with balance. The condition is diagnosed using hearing tests and MRI or CT scans.

Acoustic neuromas are usually found only in one ear and generally occur in people over 40 years of age.

Treatment

If the neuroma is small and not causing significant problems, you may not receive any treatment but the growth and effects of the neuroma will be monitored regularly.

If treatment is being considered, it is usually surgery but occasionally radiotherapy. 

Radiotherapy, which is used for small to medium neuromas, involves low-dose beams of radiation aimed at the neuroma. This does not require anaesthesia but you will probably be in hospital for 1-2 days.

For larger neuromas that are causing significant problems, surgical treatment may be suggested. Depending on the size of the neuroma, there are several different types of operation that can be performed. Whatever surgical approach is used, it will be performed under general anaesthetic (you will sleep through it) and you will probably remain in hospital for about one week.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be divided into two types: conductive hearing loss (caused by some sort of mechanical problem in the external or middle ear) or sensorineural hearing loss (caused by disorders of the inner ear, hearing nerve or associated brain structures). Conductive hearing loss is often reversible and can be due to: blockage of the ear by e.g. wax, inflammation, infections or middle ear fluid poor sound conduction because of e.g. holes or scarring in the eardrum or the bones of the middle ear (ossicles) becoming fixed and rigid. Sensorineural hearing loss is generally not reversible and can be caused by: genetic make-up (this could include congenital conditions i.e. those you are born with, or late-onset hearing loss) head injury tumours infections certain medications exposure to loud noises the aging process (a significant hearing loss is experienced by about one third of people aged over 70 years). Some of the signs you might notice that indicate you have a hearing loss include: having to turn up the volume on the TV or radio finding it hard to hear someone you are talking with finding it hard to hear in a group situation where there is background noise e.g. in a restaurant having to ask people to repeat themselves you find people's speech is unclear - they are mumbling Hearing loss can be partial (you can still hear some things) or complete (you hear nothing) and may occur in one or both ears. Treatment Treatments for hearing loss range from the removal of wax in the ear canal to complex surgery, depending on the cause of the loss. One of the most common treatments for hearing loss is the use of a hearing aid. The type of aid you get depends on the cause of your hearing loss and how bad it is, as well as what your preferences are in terms of comfort, appearance and lifestyle. If your hearing loss is severe to profound in both ears, you may be suitable for a surgical procedure known as a cochlear implant. In this procedure, a small cut (incision) is made behind your ear and a device is implanted that can bypass the damaged parts of your ear. The surgery usually takes 2-3 hours and is performed under general anaesthesia (you sleep through it). You may be able to go home the same day or have to spend one night in hospital.

Hearing loss can be divided into two types: conductive hearing loss (caused by some sort of mechanical problem in the external or middle ear) or sensorineural hearing loss (caused by disorders of the inner ear, hearing nerve or associated brain structures).

Conductive hearing loss is often reversible and can be due to:

  • blockage of the ear by e.g. wax, inflammation, infections or middle ear fluid
  • poor sound conduction because of e.g. holes or scarring in the eardrum or the bones of the middle ear (ossicles) becoming fixed and rigid.

Sensorineural hearing loss is generally not reversible and can be caused by:

  • genetic make-up (this could include congenital conditions i.e. those you are born with, or late-onset hearing loss)
  • head injury
  • tumours
  • infections
  • certain medications
  • exposure to loud noises
  • the aging process (a significant hearing loss is experienced by about one third of people aged over 70 years).

Some of the signs you might notice that indicate you have a hearing loss include:

  • having to turn up the volume on the TV or radio
  • finding it hard to hear someone you are talking with
  • finding it hard to hear in a group situation where there is background noise e.g. in a restaurant
  • having to ask people to repeat themselves
  • you find people's speech is unclear - they are mumbling

Hearing loss can be partial (you can still hear some things) or complete (you hear nothing) and may occur in one or both ears.

Treatment

Treatments for hearing loss range from the removal of wax in the ear canal to complex surgery, depending on the cause of the loss. One of the most common treatments for hearing loss is the use of a hearing aid. The type of aid you get depends on the cause of your hearing loss and how bad it is, as well as what your preferences are in terms of comfort, appearance and lifestyle.

If your hearing loss is severe to profound in both ears, you may be suitable for a surgical procedure known as a cochlear implant. In this procedure, a small cut (incision) is made behind your ear and a device is implanted that can bypass the damaged parts of your ear. The surgery usually takes 2-3 hours and is performed under general anaesthesia (you sleep through it). You may be able to go home the same day or have to spend one night in hospital.

Hoarseness

Voice difficulties can be experienced in a number of ways including hoarseness; loss of voice or reduced volume; strain/pain in the throat or voice box when talking; changes in the pitch of the voice (either higher or lower than usual); or running out of breath when talking. The most common cause of hoarseness is laryngitis (inflammation of the vocal cords) which is usually associated with a viral infection but can also be the result of irritation caused by overuse of your voice e.g. excessive singing, cheering, loud talking. Other causes of hoarseness include: nodules on the vocal cords – these may develop after using your voice too much or too loudly over a long period of time smoking gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – stomach acid comes back up the oesophagus and irritates the vocal cords. This is a common cause of hoarseness in older people allergies polyps on the vocal cords glandular problems tumours stress / poor voice use Diagnostic tests may include viewing the vocal cords with a mirror at the back of your throat or by inserting a small flexible tube with a camera on the end (endoscope) through your nose or mouth. Sometimes tests may be done to analyse the sounds of your voice. Treatment depends on the cause of the hoarseness and may include resting your voice or changing how it is used, avoiding smoking, medication to slow stomach acid production and sometimes surgical removal of nodules or polyps. The Speech Language Therapist will provide advice for looking after your voice and arrange a course of voice therapy if appropriate.

Voice difficulties can be experienced in a number of ways including hoarseness; loss of voice or reduced volume; strain/pain in the throat or voice box when talking; changes in the pitch of the voice (either higher or lower than usual); or running out of breath when talking.
 
The most common cause of hoarseness is laryngitis (inflammation of the vocal cords) which is usually associated with a viral infection but can also be the result of irritation caused by overuse of your voice e.g. excessive singing, cheering, loud talking.
 
Other causes of hoarseness include:
  • nodules on the vocal cords – these may develop after using your voice too much or too loudly over a long period of time
  • smoking
  • gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – stomach acid comes back up the oesophagus and irritates the vocal cords. This is a common cause of hoarseness in older people
  • allergies
  • polyps on the vocal cords
  • glandular problems
  • tumours
  • stress / poor voice use
 
Diagnostic tests may include viewing the vocal cords with a mirror at the back of your throat or by inserting a small flexible tube with a camera on the end (endoscope) through your nose or mouth. Sometimes tests may be done to analyse the sounds of your voice.
 
Treatment depends on the cause of the hoarseness and may include resting your voice or changing how it is used, avoiding smoking, medication to slow stomach acid production and sometimes surgical removal of nodules or polyps.  
 
The Speech Language Therapist will provide advice for looking after your voice and arrange a course of voice therapy if appropriate.
Meniere's Disease

Meniere's disease is a disorder in which there is an abnormality in the fluids of the inner ear resulting in increased pressure in the inner ear. There is no general agreement as to what causes this abnormality, but there are probably many different causes including injury (immune, infectious, trauma, allergic etc) to the ear. Symptoms of Meniere's include episodes of: vertigo (you feel you are spinning), hearing loss that comes and goes, tinnitus (ringing/clicking/buzzing noises in your ear), a feeling of fullness around your ear. Episodes may last for hours or days. The condition will be diagnosed using hearing tests and possibly an MRI or CT scan. Meniere's disease usually occurs in one ear only and typically appears between the ages of 20 and 50 years. Treatment The initial treatment approach is usually a lifestyle and diet change, including a low salt diet; avoidance of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and stress; and increased exercise and rest. The majority of patients find that these changes can help control their symptoms. Diuretic medication (reduces the amount of fluid in your body) and other medications (betahistine) may also be introduced. In severe cases where dietary/lifestyle changes have not been successful, surgery may be considered.

Meniere's disease is a disorder in which there is an abnormality in the fluids of the inner ear resulting in increased pressure in the inner ear. There is no general agreement as to what causes this abnormality, but there are probably many different causes including injury (immune, infectious, trauma, allergic etc) to the ear. Symptoms of Meniere's include episodes of: vertigo (you feel you are spinning), hearing loss that comes and goes, tinnitus (ringing/clicking/buzzing noises in your ear), a feeling of fullness around your ear. Episodes may last for hours or days. The condition will be diagnosed using hearing tests and possibly an MRI or CT scan. Meniere's disease usually occurs in one ear only and typically appears between the ages of 20 and 50 years.

Treatment
The initial treatment approach is usually a lifestyle and diet change, including a low salt diet; avoidance of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and stress; and increased exercise and rest. The majority of patients find that these changes can help control their symptoms. Diuretic medication (reduces the amount of fluid in your body) and other medications (betahistine) may also be introduced. In severe cases where dietary/lifestyle changes have not been successful, surgery may be considered.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

When snoring is interrupted by episodes of totally obstructed breathing, it is known as obstructive sleep apnoea. The obstruction is caused by the relaxation of muscles that support the soft tissues at the back of the throat such as the uvula, soft palate, tongue and tonsils. These tissues then collapse and momentarily block the airway. Episodes may last 20 seconds or more and may occur hundreds of times per night. While you are not breathing, the levels of oxygen in your blood drop which causes your blood pressure to go up and adds strain to your cardiovascular system. In addition, you are likely to feel overly tired during the day and your work, driving and overall performance may be affected. The usual treatment for OSA is to wear a nasal mask that delivers pressurised air to keep the airways open while you sleep. This treatment is known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Surgery to the nose and throat may help some OSA patients. Weight loss is important in many.

When snoring is interrupted by episodes of totally obstructed breathing, it is known as obstructive sleep apnoea. The obstruction is caused by the relaxation of muscles that support the soft tissues at the back of the throat such as the uvula, soft palate, tongue and tonsils. These tissues then collapse and momentarily block the airway.
 
Episodes may last 20 seconds or more and may occur hundreds of times per night. While you are not breathing, the levels of oxygen in your blood drop which causes your blood pressure to go up and adds strain to your cardiovascular system. In addition, you are likely to feel overly tired during the day and your work, driving and overall performance may be affected.
 
The usual treatment for OSA is to wear a nasal mask that delivers pressurised air to keep the airways open while you sleep. This treatment is known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Surgery to the nose and throat may help some OSA patients.  Weight loss is important in many.
Otitis Media

This is inflammation or infection of your middle ear (the space behind your eardrum) and is often associated with a build-up of fluid in your middle ear. Acute Otitis Media This is usually caused by a temporary malfunction of the Eustachian tube due to allergies, infections or trauma. The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the nose and allows air to enter the middle ear, thus making middle ear pressure the same as air pressure outside the head. Acute otitis media results in an infection in the middle ear causing pain, fever and a red, bulging eardrum (the thin, transparent membrane between the outer ear canal and the middle ear). This condition is usually seen in young children. The treatment may be antibiotics if it is suspected to be a bacterial, rather than viral, infection, or if there are repeated episodes, surgical insertion of grommets into the eardrums may be required. Grommets are tiny ventilation tubes that allow normal airflow into, and drainage out of, the middle ear until the Eustachian tube begins to work normally. The operation is done under general anaesthesia (the child is asleep) and takes 10-15 minutes. Most grommets fall out naturally after six to twelve months, by which time the Eustachian tubes are often working properly. Otitis Media with Effusion (Glue Ear) Like acute otitis media, glue ear is usually the result of a temporary malfunction of the Eustachian tube and may either follow an episode of acute otitis media or occur on its own. The condition is usually seen in children. Fluid is present in the middle ear but the ear is not usually painful. The ear drum is not red or bulging and there is no fever. Glue ear may lead to hearing loss, which can result in speech delays, and balance problems. Treatment options include: a prolonged course of antibiotics; grommet insertion; or treatment with decongestants, antihistamines or steroids. Chronic Otitis Media If the Eustachian tube is blocked repeatedly over a period of several years, there may be changes to the tissues of the middle ear such as deformity or perforation of the ear drum and damage to the bones of the ear. These changes may result in hearing problems, balance problems, and persistent ear discharge. If such long term damage has occurred, an operation called tympanomastoidectomy may be required. This involves making an incision (cut) behind or around the upper part of the ear, drilling through the mastoid bone and removing, and possibly repairing, damaged tissues.

This is inflammation or infection of your middle ear (the space behind your eardrum) and is often associated with a build-up of fluid in your middle ear.

Acute Otitis Media
This is usually caused by a temporary malfunction of the Eustachian tube due to allergies, infections or trauma.  The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the nose and allows air to enter the middle ear, thus making middle ear pressure the same as air pressure outside the head.  Acute otitis media results in an infection in the middle ear causing pain, fever and a red, bulging eardrum (the thin, transparent membrane between the outer ear canal and the middle ear).  This condition is usually seen in young children.  The treatment may be antibiotics if it is suspected to be a bacterial, rather than viral, infection, or if there are repeated episodes, surgical insertion of grommets into the eardrums may be required.  Grommets are tiny ventilation tubes that allow normal airflow into, and drainage out of, the middle ear until the Eustachian tube begins to work normally.  The operation is done under general anaesthesia (the child is asleep) and takes 10-15 minutes. Most grommets fall out naturally after six to twelve months, by which time the Eustachian tubes are often working properly.

Otitis Media with Effusion (Glue Ear)
Like acute otitis media, glue ear is usually the result of a temporary malfunction of the Eustachian tube and may either follow an episode of acute otitis media or occur on its own. The condition is usually seen in children. Fluid is present in the middle ear but the ear is not usually painful.  The ear drum is not red or bulging and there is no fever. Glue ear may lead to hearing loss, which can result in speech delays, and balance problems. Treatment options include: a prolonged course of antibiotics; grommet insertion; or treatment with decongestants, antihistamines or steroids.

Chronic Otitis Media
If the Eustachian tube is blocked repeatedly over a period of several years, there may be changes to the tissues of the middle ear such as deformity or perforation of the ear drum and damage to the bones of the ear. These changes may result in hearing problems, balance problems, and persistent  ear discharge. If such long term damage has occurred, an operation called tympanomastoidectomy may be required. This involves making an incision (cut) behind or around the upper part of the ear, drilling through the mastoid bone and removing, and possibly repairing, damaged tissues.

Otology (Ear) Tests

Audiometry is the electronic testing of hearing ability. You will sit in a special room wearing earphones and be asked to respond when you hear a noise through the earphones. These tests can measure your hearing levels as well as other aspects of hearing such as the ability to recognise speech against background noise. Tympanometry uses sound and air pressure to check middle ear function. A small, soft probe is placed in your ear for a few seconds and a computer measures your ears response to sounds and pressure emitted through the probe. This test is often carried out in young children to assess for glue ear.

Audiometry is the electronic testing of hearing ability.  You will sit in a special room wearing earphones and be asked to respond when you hear a noise through the earphones.  These tests can measure your hearing levels as well as other aspects of hearing such as the ability to recognise speech against background noise.

Tympanometry uses sound and air pressure to check middle ear function.  A small, soft probe is placed in your ear for a few seconds and a computer measures your ears response to sounds and pressure emitted through the probe. This test is often carried out in young children to assess for glue ear.

Otosclerosis

When growth of bone at the base of one of the tiny bones in the middle ear called the stapes occurs, it leads to the condition called otosclerosis. As this abnormal growth develops, the stapes becomes more rigid or fixed in position. The stapes needs to be able to vibrate to allow sound vibrations to pass through to the inner ear. When the stapes is not vibrating as well as it should, gradual hearing loss can occur. Otosclerosis may occur in one or both ears and may sometimes be associated with ringing/clicking/buzzing noises in your ear (tinnitus). The condition will be diagnosed by hearing tests and tympanometry. Otosclerosis most often develops during teenage and early adult years and it tends to run in families. The condition can become worse during pregnancy. Treatment There are several different approaches to treating otosclerosis, one of the most common being a surgical procedure called stapedectomy. This is a microsurgical procedure (a microscope is used to help the surgeon see the tiny structures involved) usually performed through the ear canal. A small cut (incision) is made in the ear canal near the eardrum and the eardrum is lifted, exposing the middle ear and its bones. Part of the stapes bone is removed and an artificial prosthesis inserted to help transmit sound into the inner ear. The eardrum is then folded back into position. The surgery can either be performed under general anaesthetic (you sleep through it) or local anaesthetic (the area treated is numbed) plus sedation (you are given medication to make you feel sleepy). You will be advised not to fly, blow your nose or allow any water to get into your ear for about six weeks after the operation. Other treatments include use of a hearing aid or taking sodium fluoride which helps harden the bone and can stop hearing loss progression in some patients with otosclerosis.

When growth of bone at the base of one of the tiny bones in the middle ear called the stapes occurs, it leads to the condition called otosclerosis. As this abnormal growth develops, the stapes becomes more rigid or fixed in position. The stapes needs to be able to vibrate to allow sound vibrations to pass through to the inner ear. When the stapes is not vibrating as well as it should, gradual hearing loss can occur. Otosclerosis may occur in one or both ears and may sometimes be associated with ringing/clicking/buzzing noises in your ear (tinnitus). The condition will be diagnosed by hearing tests and tympanometry. Otosclerosis most often develops during teenage and early adult years and it tends to run in families. The condition can become worse during pregnancy.

Treatment
There are several different approaches to treating otosclerosis, one of the most common being a surgical procedure called stapedectomy. This is a microsurgical procedure (a microscope is used to help the surgeon see the tiny structures involved) usually performed through the ear canal. A small cut (incision) is made in the ear canal near the eardrum and the eardrum is lifted, exposing the middle ear and its bones. Part of the stapes bone is removed and an artificial prosthesis inserted to help transmit sound into the inner ear. The eardrum is then folded back into position. The surgery can either be performed under general anaesthetic (you sleep through it) or local anaesthetic (the area treated is numbed) plus sedation (you are given medication to make you feel sleepy). You will be advised not to fly, blow your nose or allow any water to get into your ear for about six weeks after the operation. Other treatments include use of a hearing aid or taking sodium fluoride which helps harden the bone and can stop hearing loss progression in some patients with otosclerosis.

Rhinitis

Rhinitis is the inflammation of the lining of the nose (nasal mucosa). The most common symptoms are a blocked, runny and itchy nose. Rhinitis can be: allergic – either seasonal (hay fever) caused by pollen allergies or perennial caused by e.g. house dust mite, pets. infectious – e.g. the common cold non-allergic, non-infectious – caused by irritants such as smoke, fumes, food additives In the case of allergic rhinitis, the specific allergen (the thing that you are allergic to) may be identified by skin prick tests. This involves placing a drop of the allergen on your skin and then scratching your skin through the drop. If you are allergic, your skin will become red and swollen at the site. Treatment of allergic rhinitis involves avoiding the allergen if possible, but if not possible then corticosteroid nasal sprays, antihistamines and nasal saline rinses are used.

Rhinitis is the inflammation of the lining of the nose (nasal mucosa). The most common symptoms are a blocked, runny and itchy nose.
 
Rhinitis can be:
  • allergic – either seasonal (hay fever) caused by pollen allergies or perennial caused by e.g. house dust mite, pets.
  • infectious – e.g. the common cold
  • non-allergic, non-infectious – caused by irritants such as smoke, fumes, food additives
 
In the case of allergic rhinitis, the specific allergen (the thing that you are allergic to) may be identified by skin prick tests. This involves placing a drop of the allergen on your skin and then scratching your skin through the drop. If you are allergic, your skin will become red and swollen at the site.
 
Treatment of allergic rhinitis involves avoiding the allergen if possible, but if not possible then corticosteroid nasal sprays,  antihistamines and nasal saline rinses are used.
Sinusitis

In the facial bones surrounding your nose, there are four pairs of hollow air spaces known as sinuses or sinus cavities. These sinuses all open into your nose, allowing air to move into and out of the sinus and mucous to drain into the nose and the back of your throat. If the passage between the nose and sinus becomes swollen and blocked, then air and mucous can become trapped in the sinus cavity causing inflammation of the sinus membranes or linings. This is known as sinusitis. Sinusitis can be: acute - usually a bacterial (or sometimes viral) infection in the sinuses that follows a cold, or an allergic reaction. chronic - a long term condition that lasts for more than 3 weeks and may or may not be caused by an infection. Sinusitis can be a recurrent condition which means it may occur every time you get a cold. Symptoms of sinusitis include: facial pain or pressure nasal congestion (blocking) nasal discharge headaches fever. Treatment for bacterial sinusitis is antibiotics and for non-infective sinusitis may include steroid nasal sprays and nasal washes. If this treatment is unsuccessful, surgery may be considered. This is usually performed endoscopically; a tiny camera attached to a tube (endoscope) is inserted into your nose. Very small instruments can be passed through the endoscope and used to remove abnormal or obstructive tissue thus restoring movement of air and mucous between the nose and the sinus.

In the facial bones surrounding your nose, there are four pairs of hollow air spaces known as sinuses or sinus cavities. These sinuses all open into your nose, allowing air to move into and out of the sinus and mucous to drain into the nose and the back of your throat. If the passage between the nose and sinus becomes swollen and blocked, then air and mucous can become trapped in the sinus cavity causing inflammation of the sinus membranes or linings.  This is known as sinusitis.
Sinusitis can be:
  •   acute -  usually a bacterial (or sometimes viral) infection in the sinuses that follows a cold, or an allergic reaction.
  •   chronic - a long term condition that lasts for more than 3 weeks and may or may not be caused by an infection.
Sinusitis can be a recurrent condition which means it may occur every time you get a cold.
 
Symptoms of sinusitis include:
  •     facial pain or pressure
  •     nasal congestion (blocking)
  •     nasal discharge
  •     headaches
  •     fever.
 
Treatment for bacterial sinusitis is antibiotics and for non-infective sinusitis may include steroid nasal sprays and nasal washes.
If this treatment is unsuccessful, surgery may be considered. This is usually performed endoscopically; a tiny camera attached to a tube (endoscope) is inserted into your nose. Very small instruments can be passed through the endoscope and used to remove abnormal or obstructive tissue thus restoring movement of air and mucous between the nose and the sinus.
Snoring

Snoring is the harsh rattling noise made by some people when they sleep. Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the back of the mouth and nose becomes partially blocked and structures such as the tongue, soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth) and uvula (the tag that hangs at the back of the mouth) strike each other and vibrate. Causes of snoring include: nasal polyps; a bend in the nasal septum (the partition running down the middle of the nose), large tonsils or adenoids, obesity, smoking, excess alcohol. Surgical treatment of snoring involves the removal of excess loose tissue in the throat or soft palate. Non-surgical treatment involves loss of weight, avoidance of alcohol, a dental splint at night, nasal sprays and avoiding lying on one's back.

Snoring is the harsh rattling noise made by some people when they sleep. Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the back of the mouth and nose becomes partially blocked and structures such as the tongue, soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth) and uvula (the tag that hangs at the back of the mouth) strike each other and vibrate.
 
Causes of snoring include: nasal polyps; a bend in the nasal septum (the partition running down the middle of the nose), large tonsils or adenoids, obesity, smoking, excess alcohol.
 
Surgical treatment of snoring involves the removal of excess loose tissue in the throat or soft palate.  Non-surgical treatment involves loss of weight, avoidance of alcohol, a dental splint at night, nasal sprays and avoiding lying on one's back.
Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)

If you find it difficult to pass food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach, you may have a swallowing disorder or dysphagia. Symptoms may include: a feeling that food is sticking in your throat, discomfort in your throat or chest, a sensation of a ‘lump’ in your throat, coughing or choking. A disorder may occur in any part of the swallowing process such as the mouth, throat, oesophagus (food pipe that takes food to your stomach) or stomach. Causes of dysphagia include: the common cold, gastro-oesophageal reflux, stroke or a tumour. Diagnosis may be by Barium swallow x-rays or by viewing the pharynx, oesophagus and stomach using a small, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end (endoscope) that is inserted down the back of your throat. Treatments for dysphagia depend on the causes, but may include: medication – antacids, muscle relaxants or medicine to slow down stomach acid production changes in diet and/or lifestyle surgery e.g. stretching or releasing a tightened muscle stratgeies and swallowing advice from a Speech Language Therapist

If you find it difficult to pass food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach, you may have a swallowing disorder or dysphagia. Symptoms may include: a feeling that food is sticking in your throat, discomfort in your throat or chest, a sensation of a ‘lump’ in your throat, coughing or choking.
 
A disorder may occur in any part of the swallowing process such as the mouth, throat, oesophagus (food pipe that takes food to your stomach) or stomach.
Causes of dysphagia include: the common cold, gastro-oesophageal reflux, stroke or a tumour.
 
Diagnosis may be by Barium swallow x-rays or by viewing the pharynx, oesophagus and stomach using a small, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end (endoscope) that is inserted down the back of your throat.
 
Treatments for dysphagia depend on the causes, but may include:
  • medication – antacids, muscle relaxants or medicine to slow down stomach acid production
  • changes in diet and/or lifestyle
  • surgery e.g. stretching or releasing a tightened muscle
  • stratgeies and swallowing advice from a Speech Language Therapist
Tonsillitis

Your tonsils are the oval-shaped lumps of tissue that lie on both sides of the back of the throat. Sometimes tonsils can become inflamed (red and swollen with white patches on them) as the result of a bacterial or viral infection; this is known as tonsillitis. If you have tonsillitis, you will have a very sore throat and maybe swollen glands on the side of your neck, a fever, headache or changes to your voice. In some cases, pus can be seen on the tonsils. Tonsillitis mostly occurs in young people and can be a recurrent condition (it keeps coming back). If the tonsillitis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will be prescribed. If the tonsillitis is caused by a virus, treatment will usually consist of medications to relieve symptoms such as a pain killer. If the tonsillitis occurs frequently over 2 years or more, then tonsillectomy should be considered.

Your tonsils are the oval-shaped lumps of tissue that lie on both sides of the back of the throat. Sometimes tonsils can become inflamed (red and swollen with white patches on them) as the result of a bacterial or viral infection; this is known as tonsillitis.
If you have tonsillitis, you will have a very sore throat and maybe swollen glands on the side of your neck, a fever, headache or changes to your voice. In some cases, pus can be seen on the tonsils.
Tonsillitis mostly occurs in young people and  can be a recurrent condition (it keeps coming back).
 
If the tonsillitis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will be prescribed. If the tonsillitis is caused by a virus, treatment will usually consist of medications to relieve symptoms such as a pain killer.  If the tonsillitis occurs frequently over 2 years or more, then tonsillectomy should be considered.
Thyroidectomy

What is thyroidectomy? Thyroidectomy is an operation in which one or both lobes of the thyroid gland are removed. The most common indications for thyroidectomy include a large mass in the thyroid gland, difficulties with breathing related to a thyroid mass, difficulties with swallowing, goitre, suspected or proven cancer of the thyroid gland and hyperthyroidism (overproduction of the thyroid hormone, Graves' disease). The need for thyroidectomy is based on your history, the results of a physical examination and tests. The most common tests to determine whether a thyroidectomy is necessary include a fine needle aspiration biopsy, thyroid scan, ultrasound, x-rays and/or CT scan, and assessment of thyroid hormone levels. The procedure is usually done under general anesthesia. The extent of surgery (removal of one or both lobes) may sometimes be determined in the course of surgery after microscopic examination of tissue removed during the surgery. What happens before surgery? We will schedule a pre-operative visit during which the doctor will fill-out hospital forms, go over your medical history, current medications, allergies etc. and perform a complete physical examination. You will also be given the opportunity to ask questions about the procedure, hospitalisation, complications, etc. What is pre-operative assessment? After you finish with the doctor, you will then go to the hospital for pre-operative registration and assessment. This is where pre-operative blood tests, ECG, chest x-rays, etc. are carried out. You will also have the opportunity to talk to the anesthesiologist and ask questions or express concerns about anesthesia. Here also, you will be informed of the time of the operation and given instructions about when to take your medications and what to wear. You may also be asked to sign consent forms for surgery, anesthesia and blood transfusions. Sometimes, this assessment may not be necessary and may be carried out on the telephone. What time do I show up on the day of surgery? The assessment nurse will tell you the exact time of your operation and when to come to the hospital. In general, you are expected to be in the hospital, an hour and a half prior to your scheduled procedure. What happens on the day of surgery? You will be taken to the pre-operative holding area prior to your operation. It would be helpful if family members or friends notify the nurses’ desk or the waiting room receptionist of their whereabouts, so that we can find them to let them know that your surgery is over. In pre-op holding, the nurses will ask you questions to make sure you understand what is going to be done and that you have consented. They will ask you to sign the consent forms if you have not signed them before. They will also mark the operative site with ink and if applicable, write LEFT or RIGHT so that there will be no confusion as to which side is being operated on. What happens during surgery? When the thyroid is removed, it is sometimes sent for frozen section. This means that they freeze a piece of the gland, slice it very thin and colour it for the pathologist to examine it under the microscope. Often the pathologist is able to determine if it is a cancer or a benign lesion. If there is cancer, the remaining thyroid tissue is removed and sometimes, the lymph nodes of the neck are removed as well (neck dissection). In rare instances, the pathologist may be unable to make a diagnosis on frozen section and the diagnosis is postponed until the tissue has been permanently processed in the laboratory. This may take a few days. It is therefore possible for a patient to go home and be called back for more surgery if a cancer is discovered in the permanent preparation. What happens after surgery? When you wake up from surgery, you will be transported to the recovery room (PACU), where you would spend about 30 minutes to an hour, until you are fully awake and stable for transportation to your room. Many patients, especially smokers, have a raspy or hoarse voice when they wake up from anesthesia. Smokers have a tendency to cough. You will notice a drain tube attached to your clothes or a necklace. This is usually removed the next day. Please do not pull or try to empty the attached plastic bulbs. For 2 – 3 days after the surgery, it is not unusual to have pain or difficulty on swallowing. The nurses have standing orders to give you antibiotics, pain killers, thyroid replacement hormone and medications for nausea and vomiting. If there are no contraindications, you will also receive your usual home medications. Some patients develop a transient hypocalcemia (low calcium) in the immediate post-operative period. That is why your calcium, phosphorus and magnesium levels will be monitored every six hours and sometimes more frequently. If you develop hypocalcemia, you will be given calcium by mouth and / or intravenously. Tingling around the mouth and face, muscle spasms of the hands and feet, involuntary grimacing and sometimes difficulty in breathing and gasping for air (stridor) are signs of hypocalcemia. You are encouraged to stand up, walk and go to the bathroom, with assistance and always, with someone present in the room. Do not attempt at walking or going to the bathroom if you are alone in the room. You may be too groggy from medication or you may pass-out and fall down. The day after surgery, the drains and dressing will be removed. In general, the sutures are buried under the skin. There is no need to apply antibiotic ointment on the wound. You are allowed to take a shower without covering the wound. When you go home, please keep the wound exposed and do not hide it with a dressing or scarf. A little antibiotic ointment may be used at the site of the drains for a day or two. In general the drain wound heals and stops oozing in 24 hours. When do I go home? In general, most patients are discharged the day after the operation. By then, they should be able to eat, walk and go to the bathroom. Occasionally, however, some patients may run a temperature or continue to have hypocalcemia, nausea or excessive drainage. It is not uncommon for older men, especially those with large prostates, to develop urinary retention after general anesthesia. In all these instances, discharge is delayed a day or two, until the problem is resolved. Complications Bleeding or infection are possible short term complications. Although rare in thyroid surgery, some patients may develop a thick scar or keloid. Two complications specific to thyroid surgery are hypocalcemia and vocal cord weakness or paralysis. Hypocalcemia, or low blood levels of calcium, may occur after complete removal of both thyroid lobes. This condition is caused by interference with four tiny glands called parathyroid glands, which are located within or very close to the thyroid gland. Hypocalcemia is usually temporary, but sometimes may require calcium supplements if sufficiently pronounced. Permanent hypocalcemia is fortunately rare. Vocal cord weakness or paralysis may be caused by swelling, stretching, or injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve which passes very close to the thyroid gland. Temporary hoarseness may result. Again, this is an uncommon, usually temporary complication. Permanent vocal cord paralysis is rare.

What is thyroidectomy?
Thyroidectomy is an operation in which one or both lobes of the thyroid gland are removed. The most common indications for thyroidectomy include a large mass in the thyroid gland, difficulties with breathing related to a thyroid mass, difficulties with swallowing, goitre, suspected or proven cancer of the thyroid gland and hyperthyroidism (overproduction of the thyroid hormone, Graves' disease). The need for thyroidectomy is based on your history, the results of a physical examination and tests. The most common tests to determine whether a thyroidectomy is necessary include a fine needle aspiration biopsy, thyroid scan, ultrasound, x-rays and/or CT scan, and assessment of thyroid hormone levels. The procedure is usually done under general anesthesia. The extent of surgery (removal of one or both lobes) may sometimes be determined in the course of surgery after microscopic examination of tissue removed during the surgery.

What happens before surgery?
We will schedule a pre-operative visit during which the doctor will fill-out hospital forms, go over your medical history, current medications, allergies etc. and perform a complete physical examination. You will also be given the opportunity to ask questions about the procedure, hospitalisation, complications, etc.

What is pre-operative assessment?
After you finish with the doctor, you will then go to the hospital for pre-operative registration and assessment. This is where pre-operative blood tests, ECG, chest x-rays, etc. are carried out. You will also have the opportunity to talk to the anesthesiologist and ask questions or express concerns about anesthesia. Here also, you will be informed of the time of the operation and given instructions about when to take your medications and what to wear. You may also be asked to sign consent forms for surgery, anesthesia and blood transfusions. Sometimes, this assessment may not be necessary and may be carried out on the telephone.

What time do I show up on the day of surgery?
The assessment nurse will tell you the exact time of your operation and when to come to the hospital. In general, you are expected to be in the hospital, an hour and a half prior to your scheduled procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?
You will be taken to the pre-operative holding area prior to your operation. It would be helpful if family members or friends notify the nurses’ desk or the waiting room receptionist of their whereabouts, so that we can find them to let them know that your surgery is over.

In pre-op holding, the nurses will ask you questions to make sure you understand what is going to be done and that you have consented. They will ask you to sign the consent forms if you have not signed them before. They will also mark the operative site with ink and if applicable, write LEFT or RIGHT so that there will be no confusion as to which side is being operated on.

What happens during surgery?
When the thyroid is removed, it is sometimes sent for frozen section. This means that they freeze a piece of the gland, slice it very thin and colour it for the pathologist to examine it under the microscope. Often the pathologist is able to determine if it is a cancer or a benign lesion. If there is cancer, the remaining thyroid tissue is removed and sometimes, the lymph nodes of the neck are removed as well (neck dissection). In rare instances, the pathologist may be unable to make a diagnosis on frozen section and the diagnosis is postponed until the tissue has been permanently processed in the laboratory. This may take a few days. It is therefore possible for a patient to go home and be called back for more surgery if a cancer is discovered in the permanent preparation.

What happens after surgery?
When you wake up from surgery, you will be transported to the recovery room (PACU), where you would spend about 30 minutes to an hour, until you are fully awake and stable for transportation to your room.

Many patients, especially smokers, have a raspy or hoarse voice when they wake up from anesthesia. Smokers have a tendency to cough.

You will notice a drain tube attached to your clothes or a necklace. This is usually removed the next day. Please do not pull or try to empty the attached plastic bulbs.

For 2 – 3 days after the surgery, it is not unusual to have pain or difficulty on swallowing.

The nurses have standing orders to give you antibiotics, pain killers, thyroid replacement hormone and medications for nausea and vomiting. If there are no contraindications, you will also receive your usual home medications.

Some patients develop a transient hypocalcemia (low calcium) in the immediate post-operative period. That is why your calcium, phosphorus and magnesium levels will be monitored every six hours and sometimes more frequently. If you develop hypocalcemia, you will be given calcium by mouth and / or intravenously. Tingling around the mouth and face, muscle spasms of the hands and feet, involuntary grimacing and sometimes difficulty in breathing and gasping for air (stridor) are signs of hypocalcemia.

You are encouraged to stand up, walk and go to the bathroom, with assistance and always, with someone present in the room. Do not attempt at walking or going to the bathroom if you are alone in the room. You may be too groggy from medication or you may pass-out and fall down.

The day after surgery, the drains and dressing will be removed. In general, the sutures are buried under the skin. There is no need to apply antibiotic ointment on the wound. You are allowed to take a shower without covering the wound. When you go home, please keep the wound exposed and do not hide it with a dressing or scarf. A little antibiotic ointment may be used at the site of the drains for a day or two. In general the drain wound heals and stops oozing in 24 hours.

When do I go home?
In general, most patients are discharged the day after the operation. By then, they should be able to eat, walk and go to the bathroom. Occasionally, however, some patients may run a temperature or continue to have hypocalcemia, nausea or excessive drainage. It is not uncommon for older men, especially those with large prostates, to develop urinary retention after general anesthesia. In all these instances, discharge is delayed a day or two, until the problem is resolved.

Complications
Bleeding or infection are possible short term complications. Although rare in thyroid surgery, some patients may develop a thick scar or keloid.

Two complications specific to thyroid surgery are hypocalcemia and vocal cord weakness or paralysis.

Hypocalcemia, or low blood levels of calcium, may occur after complete removal of both thyroid lobes. This condition is caused by interference with four tiny glands called parathyroid glands, which are located within or very close to the thyroid gland. Hypocalcemia is usually temporary, but sometimes may require calcium supplements if sufficiently pronounced. Permanent hypocalcemia is fortunately rare.

Vocal cord weakness or paralysis may be caused by swelling, stretching, or injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve which passes very close to the thyroid gland. Temporary hoarseness may result. Again, this is an uncommon, usually temporary complication. Permanent vocal cord paralysis is rare.

Other

Other Clinicians

  • Dr Nadina Thwaites - MOSS

Contact Details

Manukau SuperClinic™

South Auckland

Manukau SuperClinic™ has a Call Centre designed to manage all incoming calls related to outpatient services. The Call Centre is open to receive calls between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

901 Great South Road
Manurewa
Auckland

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Street Address

901 Great South Road
Manurewa
Auckland

Postal Address

Manukau SuperClinic™
PO Box 98743
Manukau City
Manukau 2241

This page was last updated at 1:38PM on November 27, 2023. This information is reviewed and edited by ENT - Otorhinolaryngology (ORL) | Counties Manukau | Te Whatu Ora.