If you’ve ever watched a boxing or MMA fight on television then chances are good that you may have noticed something a bit odd and maybe a bit disturbing about some of the fighters—their ears. Some fights have what is called “cauliflower ear” in which the outer ears have become deformed due to blunt-force trauma. This is most common in athletes who wrestle, box or are involved in contact sports (e.g. rugby). When someone develops auricular hematoma the goal is to always treat the problem right away to prevent cauliflower ear from happening in the future.
While wearing the proper headgear and protection can often prevent an auricular hematoma, sometimes injuries to the outer ear can still occur. When this hematoma surfaces the blood starts to collect, causing the cartilage and the connective tissue around it (perichondrium) to separate. If left untreated, the cartilage of the outer ear no longer gets the blood flow it needs, which leads to cartilage death (necrosis).
If this happens to you or someone you know it’s important that you seek treatment right away so that the ear can be properly drained and to prevent blood from collecting inside the ear. By coming in right away for medical care, an ENT doctor can prevent complications such as cartilage necrosis, infection, tympanic membrane rupture and cauliflower ear.
In order to properly drain the hematoma, this minor procedure is performed with a local anesthesia. Once the ear is numb, a small incision is made to the outer ear to drain the blood that has collected. Once the procedure is finished, there are several methods for which to bandage the ear.
Of course, one of the most common ways is to use thermoplastic splints, which prevent blood from re-accumulating within the ear. In other instances, a simple mattress suture is placed, which also prevents blood from collecting but doesn’t need to be removed (unlike splints). Once the sutures or splints have been placed, the ear will be covered with clean gauze. Finally, the head is wrapped in order to hold the gauze in place.
Before you leave, your ENT doctor will provide you with all the information you will need for how to keep the ear clean and protected as it heals. Just know that this kind of damage to the ear can be serious if left untreated. If you experienced this kind of trauma it’s important that you seek the guidance of an otolaryngologist right away so that we can tend to this traumatic injury and prevent complications.
While there have been commercials and ads occurring for years that talk about the negative impact smoking has on your health, perhaps it’s been something that you haven’t really paid attention to; however, if you’ve been smoking for a while and you are looking for a reason to quit, let an otolaryngologist tell you the many long-term and potentially serious health problems smoking can cause.
Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes are harmful and several of them have even been linked to cancer; however, smoking is the most common preventable cause of death in the US, according to the CDC. So it’s important to quit smoking if you want to protect yourself from:
Every time you take a puff of a cigarette or consume a tobacco product you are exposing your lungs to poisonous chemicals that damage both the airways and the alveoli in your lungs. Along with the increased risk of infection, you are also putting yourself at an incredible risk for long-term or potentially serious lung problems such as:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Lung cancer
If you are someone who has asthma, tobacco may not only increase your chances of an asthma attack but it can also make asthma attacks worse.
The nicotine found in tobacco products is known to restrict blood flow. Not only does this affect healing but also it can damage the walls of the blood vessels and raise your blood pressure. As a result, this can increase your chances of heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Of course, exposing others around you to smoke increases their risk of cardiovascular problems, as well.
Besides the increased risk of throat, lung or esophageal cancer, smoking can also increase your chances of pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, smoking affects insulin production, which can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Smoking and Other Health Problems
Smoking affects just about every system in your body, from your skin and eyes to your stomach and colon. Smoking also increases your risk of cancer-related death. By quitting smoking you could drastically cut your risk of cardiovascular problems in just one year. Your risk of stroke or developing cancer will also drop drastically the first few years after you quit.
If you are trying to quit smoking you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to an ENT doctor who can provide you with the recommendations you need to quit smoking for good. You deserve to lead a long, healthy life.
Has your otolaryngologist told you that you have a deviated septum? If so, you may be wondering what this condition is, what issues it could possibly cause and when it might be time to have the issue corrected.
A deviated septum is a structural abnormality within the nose in which the wall that separates the two nasal passages deviates more to one side. As a result, one nasal passage is much smaller than the other. In more severe cases, the deviated septum can even completely block one passageway, making it more difficult to breathe out of your nose.
Those who have a deviated septum may find that they deal with more frequent nosebleeds or swelling of the nasal tissue. You may also experience facial pain and pressure. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or finding it difficult to breathe out of your nose then you will want to visit an ENT doctor who can perform a thorough evaluation and determine whether your symptoms are caused by a deviated septum or another issue.
If we determine that you have a deviated septum there are a couple different courses of action in which we can take. If the deviated septum isn’t causing severe issues then the first defense will be to better manage your symptoms through the use of steroid nasal sprays, decongestants or antihistamines. While these medications won’t correct the problem it will help to reduce nasal congestion and swelling within the nasal passages to help you breathe better.
Of course, if your symptoms are severe and not controlled through medication then the next step will be surgery to repair the structural deformity. This procedure is called septoplasty, in which an ENT specialist will make incisions into the septum so that it can be repositioned into the proper place. In some cases, a rhinoplasty (“nose job”) may also be performed during the septoplasty to correct the shape, size or alignment of the nose and improve its appearance.
If you think you may be suffering from a deviated septum this is the perfect time to pick up the phone and call an otolaryngologist who can help manage your symptoms and help you breathe better.
While hearing loss—to some degree—is fairly common as we get older, it doesn’t mean that younger adults can’t also experience some form of hearing loss. Whether you are concerned that your hearing is declining or you are trying to prevent hearing loss from happening to you, here are some reasons why this problem can occur earlier on in life.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
One of the most common reasons people develop hearing loss is exposure to loud and harmful noises. A lot of these noises are present in our environment such as the construction happening right outside our apartment or the traffic jam you always seem to get stuck in at rush hour. Repeated exposure to these harmful elements can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIFL). Everyone from children and teens to adults can develop this form of hearing loss.
In some cases, NIFL is caused by exposure to one extremely loud sound (e.g. explosion), while other times it’s due to repeated, long-term exposure to harmful noises. Everything from hunting to using a lawnmower can put your hearing at risk.
Luckily, NIFL is preventable. It’s important to understand that certain noises can be dangerous to your hearing. By incorporating more hearing-friendly practices into your day-to-day life you could reduce your risk of hearing loss. Besides knowing what sounds are harmful to your ears, it’s important that you consider wearing some kind of protection (e.g. ear plugs) when exposed to these noises. If you don’t have protection and can’t reduce the sound, try to stay as far away from it as possible.
Injuries the eardrum, sudden changes in pressure or even loud noises can cause the eardrum to rupture. Sometimes an undetected ear infection can also cause this problem. As a result, hearing can be affected.
While sometimes hearing loss after a ruptured eardrum is only temporary if the eardrum doesn’t heal properly or isn’t treated this could lead to repeated ear infections which, over time, could cause permanent hearing loss. If you are someone who is prone to infections, or if you think your eardrum has ruptured, it’s important that you turn to an ENT doctor right away.
If you aren’t able to hear people as clearly as you once did it’s important that you get a hearing screening as soon as possible. The sooner you seek care the sooner you can get the treatment you need to prevent your hearing loss from getting worse. Turn to an otolaryngologist today.
A cleft palate is a birth defect that affects the shape and formation of the roof of the mouth, causing a split in either the soft tissue or the bony portion. This condition occurs early on in pregnancy as the baby is developing. Of course, a cleft palate will not be detected until after a baby is born. While this malformation can be disheartening and stressful for parents, it’s important to understand this birth defect and how it can be repaired.
Depending on the severity of the cleft palate, your otolaryngologist will be able to determine how many surgeries will be necessary. The first surgery alone can improve the function of the middle ears, improve how the palate functions and even ensure that teeth and certain bones within the face develop properly.
In some cases, your child may also require bone grafting surgery at some point during childhood to improve the health of your gums and to make sure that permanent teeth are properly supported. As you might imagine, getting cleft palate surgeries early on will also improve your child’s speech and prevent impediments.
Additional surgeries may also be required to improve certain areas of the face such as the nose, as well as to improve breathing or to realign the jaws. After the surgeries are complete, other procedures may be performed in order to reduce the appearance of the scar.
It’s important to know that despite the lengthy treatment process and multiple surgeries that children who undergo cleft palate repair early on in life can achieve a greater quality of life. Not only do these surgeries provide a more natural appearance, but they prevent certain health problems (e.g. hearing loss) while also restoring proper speech and chewing.
If your baby was born with a cleft palate or cleft lip it’s important that you find an ENT doctor that you can trust to discuss surgery and to find out if this is the best option for your little one.
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