The majority of sore throats, or pharyngitis, are viral in nature and resolve with supportive care; however, strep throat is a bacterial infection and may require antibiotic therapy. Chronic sore throat can also be caused by a variety of disorders including rhinitis, allergy, sinusitis, postnasal drip or gastroesophageal reflux disease. If your sore throat does not improve within seven to 10 days you should be evaluated to rule out a serious medical condition.
The thyroid gland makes a hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism. The gland is located in front of the neck below the voice box (Adam’s apple). Lumps in the thyroid gland require thorough head and neck examination. Additional tests such as blood tests, ultrasound or CT scanning may also be needed.
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Salivary glands include the parotid glands, submandibular glands and minor salivary glands. Disorders of the salivary glands can include chronic infection, stones and autoimmune diseases. Lumps or bumps in the salivary glands, while frequently benign, should be evaluated with a head and neck examination to determine if further testing is indicated.
Voice & Swallowing
A variety of conditions cause disorders of the voice, most typically manifested as hoarseness. Abuse or misuse of the voice can cause nodules or bumps on the vocal cords. Medical conditions such as chronic acid reflux or thyroid disorders can also affect the vocal cords. Smoking or aging can also cause changes to occur in the vocal cords. Lack of movement or poor or improper function of the vocal cords can be associated with serious medical conditions, including cancer. Benign or malignant growths can also occur on the vocal cords. A thorough head and neck examination including a Flexible Fiberoptic Laryngoscopy in the office is the initial step in evaluating voice disorders.
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Head & Neck Masses
A lump in the neck most often represents a benign lymph node caused by inflammation or infection. Lymph nodes are located throughout the body, as well as in the head and neck, and serve as filters. Cysts, usually congenital, also occur in the head and neck and may not manifest until adulthood. Any unresolving neck mass needs to be evaluated for more serious conditions such as cancer. Cancers of the head and neck are frequently associated with smoking and alcohol use. Early diagnosis and evaluation is important to maximize treatment options and a positive outcome. Additional testing may include lab tests, CT or MRI scanning and needle biopsy. Evaluation by an oncology specialists may also be necessary.