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Best Head and Neck Clinic in Orange County - UC Irvine Department of Otolaryngology

Best Head and Neck Clinic in Orange County

The ear, nose, and throat system is sometimes interrupted by serious conditions, diseases, injuries, or abnormalities.

The tissues, glands, cavities, and structures that make up the head and neck are intended to work together to allow many functions, including ones involving digestion, maintaining balance while walking, breathing and smelling, and talking and swallowing. This is when you may find yourself searching for the best head and neck clinic in Orange County.

While there are many reasons to visit a head and neck clinic, here are some of the most common ones.

Head and Neck Cancer

Approximately 90 percent of head and neck cancers are linked to long-term exposure to sunlight, tobacco, and other risk factors that tend to negatively affect healthy cells. One of the most common reasons patients come to the best head and neck clinic in Orange County for their needs is for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of cancer. The majority of head and neck cancers, which often affect the throat, mouth, tongue, and voice box (larynx), can usually be successfully treated if detected in the early stages. Symptoms suggesting you may need specialized care for head and neck cancer include:

  • Unexplained voice changes
  • A lump in the neck
  • Sores, swelling, or bleeding in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Small, pale skin patches
  • Referred pain in or around ears when swallowing

Diagnosis of head and neck cancer usually begins with a thorough examination by a specialist followed by image testing and a biopsy. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy are the standard treatments for cancer.

Facial Nerve Damage

While considered rare, Bell's palsy is the most common type of facial nerve disorder. Characterized by the sudden, temporary weakness of facial muscles, Bell's palsy usually affects nerves on one side of the face. Paralysis on one side of the face, facial drooping, drooling, and a feeling of heaviness on the affected side of the face are among the symptoms commonly associated with Bell's palsy. Treatment usually involves physical therapy and the use of corticosteroids and anti-viral medications. When being treated at the best head and neck clinic in Orange County, testing may be done to rule out or confirm other possible causes of facial nerve damage that could include:

  • • Stroke
  • • Lyme disease
  • • A serious infection
  • • Facial tumors

Thyroid Disorders

A butterfly-shaped organ located in the lower neck, the thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate a number of body functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and cholesterol levels. Common types of thyroid disorders that may be treated at a head and neck clinic include ones related to an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) and an under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Medication usually restores normal gland functioning. Surgery may be necessary for an enlarged thyroid gland with a visible lump (goiter) if the mass is cancerous or obstructing the windpipe (trachea).

TMJ Pain

Pain related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is often difficult to diagnosis, which is why patients may be referred to the best head and neck clinic in Orange County for further evaluation. Sometimes caused by chronic teeth grinding, poor oral health, excessive repetitive jaw movements, or some type of jaw trauma, TMJ syndrome often results in dull pain felt in the lower jaw, ears, head, and teeth. Symptoms may worsen when chewing, swallowing, or yawning. Treatments available at a head and neck clinic may involve:

  • • Muscle relaxants and NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • • Temporary placement of an occlusal splint
  • • Ear inserts to relieve pressure
  • • Surgery if other treatment attempts aren't successful

You may also seek out the best head and neck clinic in Orange County if you've sustained injuries affecting bones, nerves, and soft tissues in this area. Regardless of what has you coming to a clinic for specialized care, you'll likely benefit from access to a broad range of resources in one location. These resources typically include specialists, surgeons, advanced testing and diagnostic capabilities, and multiple treatment options that can be personalized to meet your specific needs and preferences.