What exactly is the specialty of an ENT surgeon? This specialty of medicine focuses on the treatment of head and neck diseases and focuses on the treatment of functional diseases that affect the senses (drinking, breathing, talking, etc.).
Otorhinolaryngology is a surgical subspecialty within medicine that deals with the surgical and medical management of conditions of the head and neck. Doctors who specialize in this area are called otorhinolaryngologists, otolaryngologists, head and neck surgeons, or ear, nose, throat surgeons.
Head and Neck Surgery
Head and Neck Surgical Oncology (field of surgery treating cancer/malignancy of the head and neck)
Head and neck mucosal malignancy (cancer of the pink lining of the upper aerodigestive tract
Oral cancer (cancer of lips, gums, tongue, hard palate, cheek, floor of mouth)
Oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of oropharynx, soft palate, tonsil, base of tongue)
Larynx cancer (voicebox cancer)
Hypopharynx cancer (lower throat cancer)
Skin cancer of the head & neck
Salivary gland cancer
Head and neck sarcoma
Endocrine surgery of the head and neck
Microvascular free flap reconstructive surgery
Skull base surgery
Otorhinolaryngologists are physicians (MD, DO, MBBS, MBChB, etc.) who complete medical school and then 5–7 years of post-graduate surgical training in ORL-H&N. In the United States, trainees complete at least five years of surgical residency training. This comprises three to six months of general surgical training and four and a half years in ORL-H&N specialist surgery. In Canada and the United States, practitioners complete a five-year residency training after medical school.
Following residency training, some otolaryngologist-head & neck surgeons complete an advanced sub-specialty fellowship, where training can be one to two years in duration. Fellowships include head and neck surgical oncology, facial plastic surgery, rhinology and sinus surgery, neuro-otology, pediatric otolaryngology, and laryngology. In the United States and Canada, otorhinolaryngology is one of the most competitive specialties in medicine in which to obtain a residency position following medical school.
In the United Kingdom entrance to otorhinolaryngology higher surgical training is highly competitive and involves a rigorous national selection process. The training programme consists of 6 years of higher surgical training after which trainees frequently undertake fellowships in a sub-speciality prior to becoming a consultant.
The typical total length of education and training, post-secondary school is 12–14 years. Otolaryngology is among the more highly compensated surgical specialties in the United States ($461,000 2019 Average Annual Income).