Head & Neck

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Trust Our Expertise in Treating Head and Neck Conditions

When simple things like eating and swallowing or talking become a challenge for you or a loved one, you need help from doctors who understand the complexity of the head and neck. When these simple processes are cause for concern, East Tennessee doctors and patients seek the help of Ear, Nose and Throat Consultants of East Tennessee for diagnostic and treatment.

ENT Consultants of East Tennessee have the expertise to address the neck and throat conditions that eect their normal function in both adults and children.

The Importance of Your Neck and Throat

The neck plays an essential role in supporting the head and connecting the brain to organs in the torso. A primary feature of the neck is the throat, containing the pharynx, or the tubes connecting the stomach and lungs to the mouth and nose as well as the larynx, or the voice box.

Infection, swelling, tumors and other forms of blockage in the throat inhibit your capacity to eat, speak or breath properly. A decreased capacity to perform these critical body functions can lead to poor communication, poor nutrition, shortness of breath, inadequate sleep and other threats to your overall health.

Because of the vital role of the neck and throat, discomfort and pain in this area of your body is always cause for concern and can be indicators of a variety of negative health conditions with the potential to produce more serious ongoing health concerns.

Common Head and Neck Symptoms and Disorders

General symptoms of head and neck disorders, alone or in combination, which should motivate you to schedule a consultation with an ear, nose and throat specialist typically include:

  • Sore throat or throat pain
  • Redness in your throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing, especially while sleeping
  • Enlarged tonsils or white patches on the back of your throat
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fatigue that is ongoing, or chronic
  • Fever and body aches

These symptoms can be indicators of a broad range of neck and throat health issues. Here are several common disorders we deal with at ENT Consultants of East Tennessee.

Enlarged Tonsils/Tonsillitis

Enlarged tonsils, or tonsillitis, which involve the inflammation of two pads located on each side of the back of the throat, is one of the most common conditions we diagnose and treat, especially among children. Viral or bacterial infections are the primary cause of the enlarged tonsils, which typically goes away as the infection runs its course.

When tonsillitis becomes a chronic health concern and does not respond to other treatment options, the common treatment is the surgical removal of the tonsils. This minor procedure has a relatively short recovery period for children, but can be a bit more complicated for adults.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that interrupts sleep periodically throughout the night, leading to a reduced quality of sleep, fatigue, poor concentration and lethargy. There are two types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.

A failure of the brain to properly control breathing during sleep is the cause of the most rare form of Central Sleep Apnea. In contrast, obstructive sleep apnea involves the relaxation or drooping of throat muscles during sleep, which block the airway and cause breathing difficulty.

Sleep apnea is usually treated using CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy, which involves pushing air into the throat to prevent the throat muscles from closing and blocking the airway while you sleep.

Reflux Disorders

We all experience heartburn or acute acid reflux when we eat too much spicy or greasy food, especially close to bedtime, but the chronic digestive condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) involves ongoing heartburn and regurgitation, linked to seeping of stomach contents backward into the esophagus.

Changing your eating habits to smaller, more frequent meals and not eating in the last couple of hours before bedtime is a common treatment option. In addition, some common ways to overcome reflux disorders might include limiting or eliminating tobacco use, changes to the medications you are taking and/or weight loss.

Head and Neck Masses

Abnormal growths or lumps present in the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses and mouth are common forms of benign masses that block the esophagus or airway, or interfere with the functions and organs of the neck and throat. Unusual growths should be checked by an ENT specialist if they persist for more than two to three weeks to help rule out cancer and prevent ongoing negative health conditions.

Throat Cancer

Malignant tumors or masses that develop in the throat, voice box, vocal cords or tonsils are referred to as throat cancer. People who smoke, use smokeless tobacco or drink alcohol tend to be at a greater risk of developing this type of cancer.

Symptoms include chronic cough, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, lumps or sores on the neck, neck pain, sore throat and weight loss on its list of symptoms. Treatment for throat cancer depends on the tumor’s size, location and whether it has spread to other areas of the body. Radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy – or a combination of the three – may be employed.

Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ on the front of you neck that wraps around your trachea, or wind pipe and produces a specific hormone used to regulate vital body functions. When your thyroid produces too much of the hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little of the hormone (hypothyroidism), it disrupts other body functions.

Thyroid disorders can include inflammation, tumors (malignant or benign), hoarseness, sore throat, difficulty swallowing and fatigue among their symptoms. Anti-thyroid medications or radioactive iodine to reduce hormone production, betablockers to control symptoms, or surgical removal and hormone replacement therapy are common treatment options for hyperthyroidism, while hormone replacement therapy is the primary treatment for hypothyroidism.


Hoarseness involves inflammation of the larynx, which leads to making your voice sound breathy, raspy, scratchy or strained, and can include changes in volume and pitch, as well. Acute conditions typically clear up within a week or so with rest, drinking plenty of fluids and the use of a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

Hoarseness that lasts longer than three weeks and is not accompanied by cold or flu symptoms, affects your ability to swallow or breathe, and/or interferes with your ability to engage in your normal daily routine is cause for concern as it can be among the indicators of throat cancer, thyroid condition or another serious health concern.

What to Expect During a Neck and Throat Consultation

If you or a loved one experience various problems in your neck and/or throat for more than three weeks without the additional symptoms commonly associated with colds and flu, it should be cause for concern. Our otolaryngology specialists are able to diagnose neck and throat conditions and provide the treatment options best suited for your unique case.

During your first visit, our ENT specialists will review your medical history and symptoms, and perform a complete examination of your neck and throat. If necessary, your specialist may perform various types of blood tests, cultures, laryngoscopy or biopsies to help determine the cause of your neck or throat difficulties.

Treatment options might include the use of antibiotics or other medication therapies, or various types of surgical procedures to correct the issue. In most cases, a higher rate of successful treatment is achieved through early detection and treatment, so don’t put off seeking the help of our ENT specialists if you are struggling with neck and/or throat issues.

Meet Your Providers

Schedule an Ear, Nose and Throat Consultation

Your neck and throat provide a vital connection between the various organs of your head and those located in your torso. When an interruption or obstruction limits how these vital organs work together, it can lead to other serious medical conditions.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms related to various negative neck and throat conditions, get the help you need by scheduling an ENT consultation with one of our ear, nose, and throat specialists by submitting the form.

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