Confused about otolaryngology? Want to know more about it? What do YOU think it is? You’re not alone. Like many under-the-radar professions, otolaryngology is a field of medicine that rarely gets discussed and, as such, people might find themselves wondering more about it – what it involves, who practices it, and why it’s important. Dr. Paul Drago, an otolaryngologist from South Carolina, finds that his profession is important but undervalued and notes that if people knew more about otolaryngology there would likely be fewer misconceptions about it.
First and foremost, otolaryngology deals predominately with ENT, or ear, nose, and throat issues. According to many sources, over 50% of all otolaryngology visits in the United States are directly connected to ENT-related issues. This might come as a surprise to many, but ENT-related illnesses and concerns are very common and sometimes dangerous.
Secondly, otolaryngology is not at all related to eggs, ovaries, or specifically female-bodies. This has been a common misconception, as many people assume that because words dealing with those issues are similar in nature, they must indeed be synonymous with otolaryngology. Indeed, oogenesis and ovogenesis are completely separate medical processes and have nothing to do with otolaryngology.
Thirdly, otolaryngologists, or surgeons who specialize in the head and neck specifically and who provide their patients with care that focuses entirely on those areas of the body, practice otolaryngology. Unlike general practitioners, otolaryngologists are more focused and specialized.
Fourthly, the areas that are included by otolaryngology range vastly. Head and neck oncology, otology, laryngology, a range of practices relating to reconstructive (or plastic) surgery, pediatrics, rhinology, and neuro-otology all fall under the sub-categories of otolaryngology, making it an incredibly wide-ranging field.
Fifthly and lastly, otolaryngology is one of the most competitive medical fields in the United States and obtaining a residency position (the required time new doctors must put in before becoming fully able to independently practice medicine) is incredibly difficult, forcing many medical students to reconsider their choice of otolaryngology. For those who stay, however, the rewards are tremendous and those who choose to pursue the field find themselves greatly appreciating their choice.
For those who still are still left feeling uninformed about otolaryngology, never worry. There is plenty of information available on the web, as well as varying levels of information available at different practices. Dr. Paul Drago recommends different websites but for those at the beginning level, these are a few that might make comprehension a bit easier.