What is the Oldest Medical Specialty in the US?

Author

PREMIER MEDICAL

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Premier Medical Group

Posted on

Jul 29, 2022

Book/Edition

Alabama - Gulf Coast

Otolaryngology is the study of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) conditions. It is also referred to as Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery or Otorhinolaryngology and it is the oldest medical specialty in theUnited States.

This medical specialty dates back to the 19th century, when doctors recognized that the head and neck contained a series of interconnected systems. Doctors developed techniques and tools for examining and treating problems of the head and neck, eventually forming a medical specialty. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, it is the oldest medical specialty in the United States.

Otolaryngologists also known as Otorhinolaryngologists are physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck.

Commonly known as ENTs, their special skills include diagnosing and managing diseases of the sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity, upper pharynx (mouth and throat), and the neck and face.

Otolaryngologists differ from many physicians in that they are qualified to perform many types of surgery on the delicate and complex tissues of the head and neck.

What do Otolaryngologists Treat?

  • Ear: Otolaryngologists are trained in the medical and surgical treatment of hearing loss, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise (tinnitus), nerve pain, and facial and cranial nerve disorders. They also manage congenital (birth) disorders of the outer and inner ear.

  • Nose: Care of the nasal cavity and sinuses is one of the primary skills of otolaryngologists. Otolaryngologists diagnose, manage and treat allergies, sinusitis, smell disorders, polyps, and nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum. They can also correct the appearance of the nose (rhinoplasty surgery).

  • Throat: Otolaryngologists have expertise in managing diseases of the larynx (voice box) and the upper aero-digestive tract or esophagus, including voice and swallowing disorders.

  • Head and Neck: In the head and neck area, otolaryngologists are trained to treat infectious diseases, both benign and malignant (cancerous) tumors, facial trauma, and deformities of the face. They perform both cosmetic plastic and reconstructive surgery.

  •  Otolaryngology services include:
  • Nose
  • Throat
  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Sinus Disease
  • Sleep Disorders


This article was submitted by Premier Medical with locations throughout the Alabama Gulf Coast area.  Premier Medical’s physicians practice general otolaryngology on both children and adults, and manage specific disorders such as allergies. Sleep disorders, such as snoring, can be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition. ENTs also perform surgeries on the sinuses, head and neck, nasal passages and facial cosmetic procedures.


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