The most common throat disorders we diagnose and treat include snoring and sleep apnea, tonsillitis, hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing. Nearly half of adults snore, and over 25 percent are habitual snorers. Approximately 10 percent of children snore regularly. Snoring can be a sign of a more serious medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If left untreated, this can contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. We provide a thorough examination, sometimes with a fiberoptic scope through the nose and into the throat, to determine the likely site of airway obstruction causing the snoring. OSA is most frequently treated with CPAP, which opens the airway with positive pressure. Some patients cannot tolerate CPAP and seek other options. These include an oral appliance prescribed by a dentist, surgery on the tonsils, uvula, and nose, and a hypoglossal nerve stimulator which projects the tongue forward automatically during sleep.
Hoarseness (also called dysphonia) is usually caused by a problem in the vocal cords (or vocal folds) that produce sound. Difficulty swallowing (also called dysphagia) can be a symptom of acid reflux, throat infections, and neurologic weakness among other causes. Both of these conditions usually require a fiberoptic scope done in the office in minutes with minimal discomfort. The treatment is tailored to each patient’s particular diagnosis.