Otolaryngology Spring 2013 Newsletter
The Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery releases a newsletter twice a year to highlight current news and events. In the Spring 2013 Newsletter, we discuss topics such as our recent Renovations to a Blast from the Past section to our annual Physicians Alumni Weekend.
Nationally Ranked Ear, Nose and Throat Program
The ear, nose and throat program at the University of Missouri is ranked #2 in Missouri and #47 nationally by U.S. News & World Report. With over 700 hospitals listed as providers of ear, nose and throat services, the University of Missouri’s program is in the top 7% nationally.
The rankings were determined by data that is publicly available, such as information collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services related to patient survival, infection rates, patient safety measures and nurse-to-patient ratios, as well as survey responses from medical specialists.
The hard working and dedicated staff of the ear, nose and throat program are committed to providing patient-centered and compassionate care to the mid-Missouri area.
Caring for Kids
The pediatric otolaryngology team at the University of Missouri is dedicated to providing comprehensive patient-centered care for children.
Dr. Gov-Ari and his staff care for children with a range of commonly occurring conditions such as hearing loss, middle ear disease, dysphagia, sinusitis, tonsillitis, sleep apnea/snoring, acid reflux and allergies. Care for more complex conditions such as head and neck tumors, lymphatic and vascular malformations, laryngeal stenosis, tracheal stenosis, laryngeal clefts and syndromic conditions are also provided. Parents have commented that our pediatric otolaryngology team provided “the best experience I have ever had in pediatrics” and “I know at the end of the day, one might say these people are just doing their job. But it makes lots of difference when people work with a heart”.
Comprehensive care for cochlear implant patients
The University of Missouri has an active cochlear implant program. The program consists of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team that includes an otologist, Dr. Alex Bien, audiologists Caitlin Rawn and Karen Bauer, speech-language pathologists, deaf educators, and clinical psychologists.
Patients who have a severe to profound nerve hearing loss who do not receive adequate benefit from hearing aids are potential candidates for a cochlear implant. As part of the candidacy evaluation process, each potential implant recipient undergoes an individualized evaluation. These evaluations may include complete audiologic testing, a speech and language evaluation, a consultation with Dr. Bien, a CT or MRI scan, and/or meeting with a psychologist to discuss expectations and concerns. A patient’s candidacy is then decided upon as a comprehensive team.
The University of Missouri cochlear implant program can implant patients of all ages — from infants to adults. Patients who already have a cochlear implant are also cared for by our team. A recent cochlear implant recipient, a 9-year-old girl, received her cochlear implant at the University of Missouri’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Since her initial activation, which occurred two weeks after her surgery, she has continued to discover new sounds that she was not able to hear with her hearing aids. Her mother reported she was both excited and amazed at how often birds chirp!
Is it allergies or irritants?
Irritants and allergies frequently are confused because they can cause many of the same symptoms. The difference is important, though, because they have different causes and require different treatment methods.
Irritants such as strong perfumes, cigarette smoke and chemical odors are triggers that often cause symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, headaches and coughing. When a person encounters an irritant, the body responds with a defense mechanism that causes the nose, eyes and throat to produce more mucous. Most people have some irritant reactions, but certain people are more sensitive than others.
An allergy is caused when the body’s immune system mistakes a harmless substance for a dangerous one and responds with an immune-system defense. Common substances that cause allergies, called allergens, include pet dander, dust mites, tree pollen and ragweed pollen.
How are they different?
People who are prone to allergies will react even to small amounts of these substances, while people without allergies can tolerate very high exposures without a reaction. That is because the immune systems of people without allergies don’t react to harmless substances.
Allergies usually can be treated with drugs called antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays and certain types of immunotherapy, such as allergy shots or drops. Irritant reactions don’t usually respond to standard allergy treatments. There are effective treatments for inhaled irritant reactions, including saline irrigation and some prescription nasal sprays. However, the best option is to avoid the trigger, if possible.
If you experience allergy symptoms or think your sensitivity to irritants is especially high, talk to your doctor.
To schedule an appointment at University of Missouri Health Care’s ENT and Allergy Center of Missouri, please call (573) 817-3000.
Robotic surgery supports minimally invasive procedures
Since 2008, surgeons at Women's and Children's Hospital have been using a da Vinci surgical system for prostate cancer, hysterectomy and gastrointestinal surgeries. The next generation da Vinci surgical robot, the dual-console, will assist surgeons at University Hospital in performing complex minimally invasive procedures with even greater precision and control.
The da Vinci dual-console surgical robot has been in use since January by Drs. Jeff Jorgensen and Bob Zitsch, who are members of the fast growing da Vinci surgical team. The da Vinci's dual-console design allows two physicians to operate at one time, promoting collaboration and training during the surgery. Both surgeons benefit from da Vinci's superior 3-D visualization, enhanced dexterity and increased range of motion. Department faculty members have competed extensive training and have performed over 20 procedures the first of this year using the dual-console system. The addition of the dual- console system is a great benefit to head and neck cancer patients. They experience less downtime for recovery and minimal scarring as the incisions are much smaller using robotic assistance.
The early success of the dual- console system indicates future growth opportunities for both University Hospital and our Department.
Voice, Swallow and Airway Specialists
Our team at the Voice, Swallow and Airway Center can provide you with a comprehensive analysis and treatment plan for a wide range of problems, including:
- tracheostomy dependence
- occupational vocal hygiene in professional voice users
(e.g., teachers, singers, salespersons, clergy)
The Voice, Swallow and Airway Center is located at the University Physicians Medical Building at 1020 Hitt St in Columbia. It features a state-of-the-art endoscopy suite. Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures can be performed in the endoscopy suite without the need for sedation, and with minimal downtime and discomfort. For patients needing voice therapy, on-site sessions can be coordinated with same-day physician visits, or patients can receive therapy closer to home with one of our many speech language pathologist partners throughout the state. When operative intervention is needed, MU’s broad surgical resources are available – from convenient outpatient surgery to world-class intensive care.
For more information about our technology and team of highly trained specialists, please call (573) 882-7903.
Scientist strives to improve quality of life for patients with dysphagia
The Department of Otolaryngology welcomes Dr. Teresa Lever as assistant professor, with adjunct appointments in Biomedical Sciences and Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Roughly 10 million Americans are evaluated for dysphagia (swallowing impairment) each year resulting from a broad spectrum of medical conditions including stroke, MS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, head and neck cancer, and ALS. Dysphagia leads to malnutrition and respiratory conditions that are associated with poor quality of life, morbidity, mortality, and extended hospitalization. With areas of research that includes the neurobiology of normal swallowing and dysphagia, Dr. Lever’s goal is to develop diagnostic tests for early the detection, and therefore earlier treatment, of dysphagia. Her research team has pioneered methodology capable of reliably detecting small but important changes in the swallowing function of mice. She and her team have also recently patented an observation kennel for conducting swallowing studies with naturally feeding, unrestrained cats and dogs which is being made available to veterinary campuses across the U.S.