Ear nose and throat medicine and surgery is a field that continues to change, grow, and innovate for the benefit of our patients. It can be surprising how much change can occur in an area so tiny! In a recent issue I described just some of the developments in the nose and throat arena. I wanted to provide one other insight into an extremely fascinating area where medical innovation and technology have worked in concert for our patient’s benefit.
ENTs are often thought of as performing ear tubes and tonsillectomies; and you wouldn’t be wrong to think that- they number as some of the most frequently performed procedures in the world! Less often recognized, though, is our role as medical and surgical experts of upper airway physiology and anatomy. From simple surgeries on the tongue to entire airway reconstruction, ENTs are well equipped to understand the intricate workings of head and neck anatomy. Patients that have obstructive sleep apnea or sleep-disordered breathing have problems with keeping their airway open while they sleep. This stems from a derangement in the body’s ability to keep important muscular support structures activated during periods of sleep which leads to temporary airway collapse. The first line therapy for sleep apnea is generally continuous positive airway pressure devices, or “CPAP.” Unfortunately for many patients, a CPAP mask is either intolerable or creates unwanted side effects. Neglecting treatment for many forms of sleep apnea can cause a multitude of health problems- beyond just a headache for a bedpartner.
Fortunately, an exciting new therapy has become increasingly adopted in our field. A nerve stimulator implant can be placed which detects breathing patterns and can tighten the airway muscles while a patient sleeps. For many of our patients, this can be a game changer in sleep quality, snoring symptoms, and a reduction in sleep apnea events. Our group is excited to be central in developing the implant program for the Heritage Valley system to help serve our patients that struggle with sleep apnea and are not tolerant of traditional therapies.
Whether you have small issues with your ears or big issues with your throat, we are happy to see you and discuss options to help reduce your symptoms and improve the quality of your life.
Giuseppe V. Staltari, MD trained at the renowned University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck surgery where he had the opportunity to work alongside world leaders and innovators in the fields of head and neck surgery, laryngology and professional voice care, sleep surgery, ear surgery, and sinonasal surgery. He practices the full breadth of state-of-the-art ear, nose, and throat care including diagnosis and treatment of allergies and allergic rhinitis, hearing care, sinus surgery, head and neck cancer care, voice disorders care, salivary gland issues, thyroid surgery, and superficial skin cancers of the head and neck. He works with Drs Froman, Orsini, Rago, and McElwain at The ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western PA and with the Associated Hearing Aid Services. He is accepting new patients.