Treating Throat, Voice and Swallowing Disorders
Our throat specialists spend as much time trying to preserve vocal and swallowing function as they do trying to treat disease. Removing throat cancer is one thing. But removing throat cancer without destroying the patient’s ability to speak or eat? That’s pretty amazing.
Non-Surgical Management of Throat Problems
Some throat problems can be treated with medication and specialized therapy.
Lifestyle modifications, a discussion of hydration, diet, and vocal needs can often lead to improvements in vocal function without invasive procedures or medications.
Swallowing exercises and techniques, including the Shaker exercise, which was developed by a Medical College of Wisconsin gastroenterologist/hepatologist – can be taught to patients with swallowing disorders. The Shaker Exercise is a swallowing exercise that helps people improve or even restore their swallowing function without surgery or drugs.
Voice/speech pathologists and a singing specialist work with our Vocal Health Program patients.
Medication may be used to treat chronic cough, persistent throat infections and some causes of swallowing difficulty.
Surgical Management of Throat Problems
Sometimes, surgery is the most effective way to address a throat concern. Our laryngologists (throat specialists) perform some of the most advanced throat surgeries available, including:
Laser surgery for Zenker’s diverticulum. Laser surgery is a highly effective way to treat Zenker’s diverticulum, an out pouching of the esophagus that causes swallowing difficulties. Our surgeons perform the majority of all Zenker’s diverticulum surgeries in eastern Wisconsin.
Transoral Laser Resection (TLR) and Transoral robotic surgery (TORS). In the past, the only way to treat a recurrence of laryngeal (voice box) cancer was to remove the voice box – which removes the patient’s voice as well. Now, transoral robotic surgery makes it possible to remove just the cancerous part of the larynx, allowing the patients to preserve their voices. Very few surgeons are proficient in the use of TLR and TORS to treat head and neck cancer, but our laryngologists and head and neck cancer specialists use these procedure whenever possible to provide optimal outcomes with minimal side effects.
KTP laser treatment. Small warts on the vocal cords can cause vocal problems. Our laryngologists can “zap” the growths away in a quick and easy in-office procedure. They are the only physicians in the area – and one of only two physician groups in the state – to offer this advanced KTP laser treatment.
Tonsillectomy. Removal of the tonsils is used to treat recurrent sore throats and sleep apnea in both children and adults. Our otolaryngologists and laryngologists perform tonsillectomies based on the latest guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngologists.