Otolaryngologists -- or ear, nose, and throat specialists -- focus on the diagnosis and treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat, commonly referred to as ENT.
The ears and throat are connected by the eustachian tubes, which lead from the middle ear to the throat. The nose leads directly into the part of the throat referred to as the nasopharynx. Inflammations of the nose may spread to the throat, and vice versa. Inflammations of the throat often spread through the eustachian tubes to the ears. Consequently, infection in any of these areas could result in infection in all of them.
Otolaryngologists are primarily surgeons who perform such varied procedures as rhinoplasty (reconstructive nose surgery); removal of tumors from the oral, nasal, and neck areas; reconstructive ear surgery; and sinus surgery. Ear, nose, and throat specialists also diagnose diseases of the head and neck, excluding the brain and eyes.
Otolaryngologists must complete a one-year residency in general surgery and a four-year residency in otolaryngology.
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