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Dr. Nikhila Raol performing ear exam on teenage patient in clinic

Otolaryngologists, or ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors, treat children with common childhood problems like ear infections, throat infections, hearing loss, breathing problems and sinus issues. The ENTs at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta are specially trained to care for children who need ear tubes, a tonsillectomy or something more complex.

The ENTs at Children’s have gone through additional training that specifically focuses on caring for children, and we take special care to help make sure the youngest patients feel comfortable and at ease. Many of the ENTs at Children’s are also part of multidisciplinary clinics, which means they collaborate with pediatric specialists in other areas to help make sure every patient is getting comprehensive care.

  • Noisy breathing (stridor) or hoarseness: includes abnormalities of the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe)
  • Recurrent croup and cough (disorders of the aerodigestive tract): irritation of the organs and tissues of the respiratory tract and upper part of the digestive tract, including lips, mouth, tongue, nose, throat, vocal cords, and part of the esophagus and windpipe
  • Laryngomalacia: floppy, soft tissue above the vocal cords that falls into the airway when a child breathes in
  • Stridor: a harsh, vibrating noise when breathing caused by partially blocked airways
  • Vocal cord paralysis: when the nerve impulses to the larynx (voice box) are disrupted
  • Laryngeal web: congenital (present at birth) condition in which a child’s windpipe is partially constricted, or narrowed, making it difficult to breathe
  • Laryngeal cleft or laryngotracheal cleft: abnormal opening between the larynx (voice box) and esophagus through which food and liquid can pass through the larynx into the lungs

  • Recurrent ear infections (otitis media): repeated middle ear infection
  • Tumors of the ear (cholesteatoma): a skin growth in the middle ear behind the eardrum
  • Hearing loss: early identification of hearing loss and treatment to prevent developmental delays
  • Holes in the eardrum (perforations): can affect hearing and speech

  • Branchial cleft abnormality: mass of tissue in the neck
  • Dermoid cyst: pocket or sac under the skin that contains tissues normally present in the outer layers of the skin
  • Enlarged lymph nodes: swollen glands in the neck, usually caused by infection, inflammation or disease
  • Infections and tumors of the parotid and submandibular glands: salivary glands that keep your mouth moist
  • Thyroglossal duct cysts: a neck mass or lump that develops from cells and tissues remaining after the thyroid gland forms before birth
  • Growths of the head and neck (tumors): can be cancerous or noncancerous and need immediate attention

  • Nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis): seasonal nasal allergies that can impact breathing
  • Nose bleeds: recurrent nose bleeds that could be serious
  • Deviated septum: when the cartilage that separates the nostrils is off-center and causes breathing problems 
  • Recurrent sinus infections (rhinosinusitis): blockage of the sinus passages and sinus cavities leading to infections
  • Swelling inside the nose (turbinate hypertrophy): an enlargement of the turbinates (small structures in the nose that cleanse and humidify air as it passes through the nostrils)
  • Nasal polyps: growth of polyp tissue in the nose caused by inflammation, which may require surgery

  • Snoring and gasping for breath at night (obstructive sleep apnea): when a child is unable to breathe clearly while sleeping, usually because of a blockage
  • Swallowing disorders: difficulty or pain when swallowing or the inability to swallow
  • Tonsil and adenoid enlargement and infections: can lead to sleep apnea and other health problems
  • Tumors in the throat: can be cancerous or noncancerous and need immediate attention

How can ear tubes help my child’s ear infection?

Ear infections, though very common in kids, sometimes become chronic. When this happens, your ENT specialist may recommend the placement of tiny tubes in the eardrums to prevent future infections. It is an effective and safe procedure with low risk of complications.

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Children often have problems of the ear, nose and throat that are rarely seen in adults. They respond differently to treatment and need an otolaryngology team with pediatric experience and training. The ENTs at Children’s offer comprehensive services, including evaluation, diagnosis, management and treatment of children with a variety of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck.

What do pediatric ENTs do?

Our pediatric ENTs are specially trained and experienced in treating children—from infants to young adults—with ear, nose and throat conditions. Our team performs more pediatric ear tube surgeries and tonsillectomies than any other hospital in Georgia annually, driving experience that sharpens our specialists’ skills as well as outcomes that emphasize our capability to provide high-quality care to children and families. Each surgical team is also accompanied by a pediatric anesthesiologist who receives additional training to care for pediatric patients and who creates an anesthesia plan for each child based on his or her weight, height and type of surgery.

Each year, our team performs:

  • More than 6,000 ear tube surgeries—an average of 16 procedures every day.
  • Thousands of tonsil and adenoid removal surgeries.
  • Nearly 9,000 total ENT surgical procedures each year—more than any other hospital in Georgia.

Our staff also knows how to talk to kids and families and how to help put them at ease during times of stress. We will work closely with you and your child to find the best treatment options for his specific needs.

When should a child see a pediatric ENT?

While some ENT procedures, such as ear tube surgery, can seem pretty minor, Children’s takes every precaution to help make sure your child is safe during surgery. We recommend you see a pediatric-trained specialist if your child has a problem with their ears, nose or throat.

Our specialists perform surgeries and procedures for:

  • Adenoidectomy (removal of adenoids)
  • Choanal atresia and pyriform aperture stenosis repair
  • Removal of foreign objects
  • Septoplasty (correction of deviated nasal septum)
  • Sinus surgery
  • Skull base surgery
  • Turbinate surgery

We know where you take your child for surgery matters. Our Otolaryngology Program combines the latest proven technology with a caring, child-friendly approach, making Children’s a top choice for surgical treatment. The following physicians lead our surgical services.

Physician leadership

Children’s Physician Group–Otolaryngology

Children’s Physician Group is the largest multispecialty physician practice in Georgia. Children’s Physician Group enables you and your family to see pediatric specialists that are part of the Children’s team.

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Private practice pediatric otolaryngologists in our program

Our surgeons work closely with other otolaryngologists in the community to help make sure complete, coordinated care is delivered seamlessly at our hospitals for children with ENT conditions.