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Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT)

Be it an ear infection, tonsillitis, sore throat or blocked nose the chances are your child will have some sort of ear, nose or throat problem during their early years.

Many will need no treatment at all but recurrent problems may. Often this will just involve a short course of medication or a simple surgical procedure that can be done without an overnight stay in our dedicated day case unit.

Here at The Portland our medical teams have extensive experience of treating children with a range of ENT conditions – so rest assured your child will be in expert hands.

Our specialists can help with the following problems:

  • TONSIL PROBLEMS: Tonsillitis can be painful and cause your child to have difficulty swallowing. Sometimes all that is needed is rest and some infant paracetamol. Occasionally a doctor may prescribe antibiotics if an infection persists beyond a few days.[i]  If it becomes a recurrent health problem – it could lead to your child missing school and mean that you will have to take time off work to care for them. If your child has tonsillitis more than three to five times a year or more then surgery maybe suggested. This involves a simple procedure known as a tonsillectomy which can be done as a day case.

  • SLEEP APNOEA: If your child is snoring or seems to momentarily stop breathing during their sleep this maybe a sign of sleep apnoea. In children this is often caused by tonsils or adenoids that have become enlarged – they’ve simply grown quicker than your child’s airways have developed. These then partially block the airways as a child’s muscles relax as they sleep. Removing the adenoids or tonsils can help. [ii]

  • GLUE EAR: This is the build-up of thick, mucus-like fluid behind the ear drum which makes it harder for a child to hear. Although this can clear on its own within a matter of months, if it persists it can impact on your child’s speech and language development. In this case grommets maybe suggested. This is a minor operation done as a day case during which tiny tubes are inserted into the ear drum to help ventilate the ear and clear the mucus. Our ENT consultants work closely with our audiology department and onsite speech and language therapists to ensure that your child's development is not severly impacted by their condition.

    Our ENT consultants work closely with our audiology department and onsite speech and language therapists to ensure that your child's development is not severly impacted by their condition.

  • BLOCKED NOSES: Every child gets a blocked nose from time to time but if your child has a permanently blocked nose which is impacting on their everyday activities and sleep, medical treatment maybe advised. It may be as simple as suction treatment to remove any blockage in the nose.

  • MIDDLE EAR INFECTIONS: Three quarters of children will have a middle-ear infection – also known as an otitis media – before the age of three. They will typically experience pain in the ear and a temperature which can be distressing for both parent and child but for most children, the infection resolves within a matter of days. If you child is having recurrent ear ache or discharge it may suggest a more persistent infection that requires specific antibiotics which our doctors can prescribe. Our team will also check for the presence of glue ear (see above).

  • CYSTS: Thyroglossal cysts are the most common cause of lumps in the neck – affecting around 7 per cent of the population [iii]  and most often those affected are children under ten. The lumps range in size from a pea to a tangerine but will normally hurt. Surgery is usually recommended to remove them because they can lead to infections and other complications.

As well as the common complaints we also can also help with the less common problems including:

  • SUBGLOTTIC STENOSIS: This condition occurs when there is a narrowing of the windpipe just below the voice box. Your baby maybe born with the condition or it can occur as a result of having a breathing tube inserted during their early days. For some, the condition is so mild no treatment is needed but children whose breathing and feeding is more severely affected may need surgery to expand the narrowing.[iv]

  • NASAL DERMOIDS: These are small cysts that are present from birth around the bridge of the nose. They may look just like a minor swelling but grow increasingly large over time and may become infected which is why it is normally recommended that they are removed surgically. 

  • TRACHEOTOMY AND AIRWAY RECONSTRUCTION: Our ENT consultants also provide tracheotomy care and airway reconstructions for some of the children on our paediatric intensive care unit

For more information or to arrange an appointment please contact our Children's Enquiry Line on 020 7390 8020.


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