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Otolaryngologist performing an endoscopic sinus surgical procedure
A 40-watt CO2 laser used in otolaryngology

Otolaryngology /ˌtˌlærɪŋˈɡɒləi/, is the study of ear, nose, and throat conditions or ENT. It is also referred to as Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery or otorhinolaryngology.

Physicians specializing in otolaryngology are called otolaryngologists or by the nickname "ENTs" or "ENT doctors" and often treat children with persistent ear, nose, and throat conditions to include surgery. Adult patients often seek treatment from an otolaryngologist for sinus infections, age-related hearing loss, and cancers of these regions.


The term is a combination of four Ancient Greek words: οὖς ous (gen.: ὠτός otos), "ear", ῥίς rhis, "nose", λάρυγξ larynx, "larynx" and -λογία -logia, "study".[1]


Otolaryngologists are physicians (MD, DO, MBBS, MBChB, etc.) who, in the United States, complete at least five years of surgical residency training. This is composed of one year in general surgical training and four years in otolaryngology–head and neck surgery. (In the past it varied between two and three years of each.) In Canada, practitioners complete a five-year residency training after medical school.

Following residency training, some otolaryngologists complete an advanced sub-specialty Fellowship where training can be 1–2 years in duration. In the United States and Canada, otolaryngology is one of the most competitive specialties in medicine in which to obtain a residency position following medical school.


Head and Neck Oncologic SurgeryFacial plastic and reconstructive surgery*OtologyNeurotology*Rhinology and Sinus SurgeryLaryngology and Voice DisordersPediatric OtolaryngologySleep Medicine*
Surgical oncologyFacial cosmetic surgeryEarMiddle and inner earSinusitisVoice disordersVelopalatine insufficiency
ReconstructionMaxillofacialHearingTemporal boneAllergyPhono-surgeryCleft lip and palate
Endocrine surgeryTraumaBalanceSkull baseAnterior skull baseSwallowing disordersAirway
Endoscopic SurgeryDizzinessApnea and snoringVascular malformations
Cochlear implant/BAHA

(* Currently recognized by American Board of Medical Subspecialties)


Head and neck oncology[edit]

Otology and neurotology[edit]

Main articles: Otology and Neurotology


Rhinology pertains to sinus diseases and the anterior skull base.

Pediatric otolaryngology[edit]


Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery[edit]

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is a one-year fellowship open to otolaryngologists and plastic surgeons who wish to specialize in the aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the head, face, and neck.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "otolaryngologist" entry in: Peter Harris, Sue Nagy, Nicholas Vardaxis, Mosby's Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions - Australian & New Zealand Edition, Elsevier Health Sciences, 2009.

External links[edit]

Associations and Societies