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What is Laryngology?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2016
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Laryngology is a type of medicine that focuses on the care and treatment of the larynx. The health professional who normally practices this branch of medical study and treatment is known as a laryngologist. It is not unusual for a medical care professional to be trained in the complementary fields of otology and rhinology as well as laryngology.

The study and practice of laryngology can take one of two courses. In some cases, the trained laryngologist will choose to focus on research into the many health conditions that can impact the function of the larynx. This can include research into the different types of cancers and other growths that may develop in the larynx and the surrounding area. The researcher may also focus on various types of traumas that can injure the larynx on a temporary basis, or lead to permanent disability.

The second course is to actively pursue the treatment end of laryngology. In some cases, the laryngologist may choose to focus solely on larynx disorders. However it is not unusual for physicians trained as ear, nose, and throat doctors to practice laryngology along with otology and rhinology. This type of approach makes it possible to effectively deal with localized inflammations or infections that could spread to the larynx if left untreated.

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Within the scope of practice, a physician may choose to specialize in adult or pediatric laryngology. When adults are involved, the health professional often will address disorders of the larynx that are the result of tobacco usage, such as the development of nodules and polyps due to irritate from cigarette smoke. Adult laryngology may also include treating the temporary loss of the voice because of injury to the larynx, such as in a traffic accident or a physical assault.

With pediatric laryngology, the physician will often deal with the inflamed soft tissues of the larynx due to an infection associated with the nose or ears. The doctor will also treat cases of temporary laryngitis that came about due to yelling or tonsillitis. Doctors of this type are also trained to deal with trauma to the larynx that may result from the child falling during play or taking a tumble while riding a bicycle.

As with most areas of medical research and practice, laryngology is constantly evolving. Treatments for cancers, nodules, and polyps are far more advanced than they were even ten years ago. In some cases, modern treatment methods have made it possible to treat conditions that would have required some type of surgery in decades past.

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