There are several issues that can affect the many parts, structures, and glands within the head and neck area.
Some of these problems are nothing more than infections that can be treated with antibiotics. However, other conditions, abnormalities, or injuries are serious enough for patients to be referred to the best head and neck hospital in California for further evaluation.
Seeking treatment at a hospital doesn’t always mean surgery is the only solution. Sometimes, receiving an accurate diagnosis can improve results with non-surgical options.
Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancers serious enough to require hospital care are sometimes ones that have been developing for long periods of time. This may be the case with oral cancer related to tobacco use. Throat cancer is sometimes linked to the human papilloma virus (HPV), while other types of head and neck cancer may be related to sun exposure (melanomas) or genetics. Treatment usually involves surgery, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and drugs that block the spread of cancer (targeted therapies).
With a thyroid gland that’s over-active or under-active, the first attempt at treatment is usually medication. But drugs that control thyroid activity are only effective if the dosage is right. This is one of the reasons why patients with thyroid problems may be treated at the best head and neck hospital in California. Specialized care might also be necessary for patients with a thyroid affected by immune system irregularities (Hashimoto’s disease), autoimmune disorders like Graves’ disease, goiters, thyroid nodules, or thyroid cancer. If conservative treatments aren’t effective, treatment may involve partial or complete thyroid removal (thyroidectomy).
Salivary Gland Disorders
The purpose of salivary glands is to keep the mouth moist. White blood cells attacking healthy salivary cells (Sjögren’s syndrome), viral infections, and salivary gland tumors are among the many different conditions that may affect these glands and require care at the best head and neck hospital in California. A positive diagnosis is usually made with a combination of medical history details, lab tests, and X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to identify the source of the gland blockage or damage. Treatment may include surgery if abnormal tissues in one of the salivary glands are cancerous.
Facial or Jaw Conditions
The trained doctors and surgeons often on staff at the best head and neck hospital in California are also prepared to diagnose and treat facial and jaw problems that may produce ongoing pain or a reduction in facial sensations. A common source of facial pain is Bell’s palsy. Treatment often involves medication and/or therapy. Jaw pain that extends to the ears or neck is sometimes related to disorders affecting the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. Patients may also be treated for facial or jaw symptoms related to:
- Damage from facial trauma
- Jaw nerve irritation or damage
- Severe sinus infections or nasal blockages
- Non-cancerous or cancerous tumors
- Stroke-related nerve damage
- Serious infections
Specialists at the best head and neck hospital in California are likely to be ones who recommend treatment plans that take patient preferences into consideration. If there is a desire to avoid surgery if possible, for instance, minimally invasive procedures or therapies not previously considered may be suggested. Many hospitals specializing in head and neck care also typically offer patients access to treatments or testing procedures that involve the use of newer techniques and technology and appropriate follow-up care.