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Minimally Invasive Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery

University of Chicago otolaryngologists--ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeons--have been using minimally invasive surgery to treat ENT problems for many years, long before the term became popular. Head and neck disorders are well suited for minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical approaches because the nasal, ear, and throat passages offer a natural entryway for the sophisticated, thin instruments used in these procedures. These types of procedures result in less tissue damage, a faster recovery, less pain, and less scarring than treatments performed through open incisions. For ENT minimally invasive procedures that require external incisions, our specialists work to keep scarring to a minimum.

Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) for Head and Neck Cancers

TORS is an innovative, less invasive treatment option to remove some types of head and neck cancers through the mouth, including many related to human papilloma virus (HPV). Traditionally, surgeons have had to remove these cancers with more invasive approaches (such as by splitting the jaw or throat) that may cause longer healing times and more side effects. TORS may help patients achieve a quicker recovery and potentially better functional outcomes. » Learn more about TORS

Image-Guided Surgery

Minimally invasive sinus and related procedures performed at the University of Chicago Medicine are done with the help of a revolutionary imaging tool--the ENTrak--that enables our surgeons to perform 3-D image-guided surgery. This advanced computerized imaging method uses CT scans (X-rays) of the patient's head and neck to build a three-dimensional picture of the patient's anatomy. This gives the surgeon a more detailed look at sinus structures during surgery, allowing for more complete removal of disease and fewer complications. Not all hospitals have this state-of-the-art technology.

Our Surgeons

University of Chicago otolaryngologists are board-certified experts in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. Our surgeons have extensive expertise in treating complex and high-risk ENT problems using minimally invasive techniques. These physicians collaborate with each other and other University of Chicago specialists to provide comprehensive care for even the most challenging cases.

Alternatives to Surgery Are Available

Our specialists are often able to treat ENT conditions without surgery. In many cases, medications, speech-language therapy, or hearing devices can successfully treat problems. Our approach is to offer comprehensive, "multimodality treatment" that combines a variety of medical and/or surgical techniques to care for our patients.

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Most types of ENT problems can be diagnosed or treated with minimally invasive techniques. We use minimally invasive surgery to treat the following problems, and more:

  • Benign and malignant head and neck tumors/head and neck cancer: diagnosis, staging, and tumor removal
  • Bone anchored titanium implants (BAHA device), used for the treatment of certain types of hearing loss
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leaks
  • Complex allergy problems
  • Cranial base lesions
  • Dermoid cysts
  • Ear related disorders including myringotomies (ear drum incisions)--with or without ventilation tube insertions--to treat ear infections, hearing loss, and dizziness
  • Eustachian tube and other middle ear problems
  • Facial plastic and cosmetic surgery: rhinoplasty (nose), blepharoplasty (eyelid), face/neck lift procedures
  • Head and neck reconstructive procedures
  • Laryngeal disorders, including cancer
  • Ménière's disease
  • Nasal and sinus disorders
  • Neonatal and congenital problems
  • Oral and maxillofacial conditions
  • Pediatric ENT problems
  • Removal of foreign bodies and wax impaction from ears
  • Snoring and sleep disorders: radiofrequency tissue reduction to remove excess tissue
  • Thyroid and parathyroid disease
  • Voice disorders
  • Zenker's diverticulum