Pediatric otolaryngology in Denver

Pediatric otolaryngologists treat children with disorders of the ears, nose, throat (ENT), head and neck through both nonsurgical and surgical approaches. Our otolaryngologists are supported by pediatric audiologists who help children with hearing loss.

The pediatric ENT doctors, surgeons and advanced practice providers within the Rocky Mountain Pediatric Specialists medical group are trained in advanced pediatric ENT care based on the most up-to-date criteria established for children, from premature infants to late adolescents.

You can speak with one of our ENT specialists or audiologists by scheduling an appointment.

ENT conditions we treat

Our pediatric otolaryngologists have the experience and knowledge to treat a wide range of common and rare ENT conditions in children. Some conditions we treat include:

  • Adenoiditis and adenoid hypertrophy — inflamed or enlarged adenoids
  • Ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) — a birth defect that restricts tongue movement and can affect feeding and swallowing
  • Branchial cleft cysts — when a lump grows either in the neck or right below the collarbone
  • Breathing problems — includes a range of symptoms such as persistent wheezing, coughing, congestion, hoarseness or tight throat
  • Chronic ear disease — any type of chronic infection or abnormal growth in the ear
  • Cleft lip — an opening in the top lip when facial features don't fully close before birth; can be a small notch to a complete split in the lip that goes all the way to the base of the nose
  • Cleft palate — a treatable condition which the roof of the baby's mouth, or palate, does not develop normally before birth
  • Epistaxis (nosebleeds) — can be caused by an underlying condition or injury
  • Head and neck vascular malformations — when blood vessels of the head and neck grow and develop abnormally
  • Hearing loss — when any part of the ear does not work properly and causes a problem hearing
  • Hoarseness — raspy or breathy sounding voice, often causes a lower volume or pitch in vocal quality
  • Hypernasal speech — when too much air vibrates the nasal cavity when speaking, causing a change in vocal sounds
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux — when stomach acid travels back up the esophagus into the throat, often causing hoarseness, trouble breathing and a chronic cough or "barking" sound
  • Nasal deformities — abnormality of the nose's structure and/or appearance caused by birth defect, medical condition or injury
  • Nasal obstruction — when nostrils become swollen with excess mucus
  • Neck tumors — a bump, swelling or lump in the neck that can be either benign or malignant
  • Obstructive sleep apnea — when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and restrict airflow during sleep
  • Otitis media — also known as ear infections, more common in childhood
  • Sinusitis — also known as sinus infections
  • Tonsillitis — an infection of the tonsils
  • Tonsil hypertrophy — overly enlarged tonsils that affect breathing and swallowing
  • Vocal cord paralysis — occurs when the vocal cord nerve is disrupted, paralyzing the muscles of the larynx (voice box)

Procedures for ear, nose and throat

Our pediatric ENT surgeons treat a wide spectrum of conditions affecting the ears, nose, larynx, pharynx and neck. Several of these surgical procedures can be treated with a minimally invasive approach, meaning they are performed through smaller incisions and with smaller instruments than traditional surgeries. This technique results in less scarring, less pain and a quicker recovery for patients.

Ear procedures we provide include:

  • Bilateral myringotomy with tubes (BMT) — the insertion of ear tubes, typically to treat chronic ear infections
  • Bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) — surgically implanted hearing device
  • Cochlear implantation — a procedure to implant a small hearing device for patients who are profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing
  • Endoscopic ear surgery — using a small camera inserted through the ear canal to help the ENT surgeon get a more detailed view during a surgical procedure
  • Fat-graft myringoplasty — procedure to repair a perforated (ruptured) eardrum
  • Mastoidectomy — a procedure to remove diseased air cells from the mastoid bone
  • Otoplasty — reconstructive or cosmetic ear surgery
  • Tympanoplasty — eardrum perforation repair surgery, also called a paper patch

Nose procedures we provide include:

  • Adenoidectomy — surgery to remove the adenoid glands behind the nose
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak repair — a procedure to stop CSF leaking by entering through the nostrils
  • Choanal atresia repair — a procedure to fix nasal tissue blocking or narrowing the airway
  • Eustachian tube dilation — a minimally invasive procedure to open the Eustachian tube, the passageway connecting the throat and middle ear
  • Excision of nasal masses — removal of nasal tumors
  • Foreign body removal — removal of objects stuck inside the nostril
  • Limited rhinoplasty — surgery to change or reconstruct the shape of the nose bone
  • Nasal perforation repair — a procedure to repair a fissure or hole in the septum
  • Septoplasty — a procedure to right the septum, the bony/cartilaginous wall between the nostrils
  • Sinus and extend sinus surgery — most commonly done to treat chronic sinus infections
  • Skull base surgery — specialized surgery often used to remove tumors by entering through the nostrils
  • Turbinate reduction — surgery to shrink turbinate to open airways and improve breathing

Larynx procedures we offer include:

  • Arytenoidectomy — permanent surgery to widen the entrance to the trachea
  • Bronchoscopy — a procedure to look into the airways with an instrument inserted via the mouth or nose
  • Endoscopic balloon dilation — widening the trachea by expanding a balloon inserted via an endoscope
  • Esophagoscopy — an examination of the esophagus using a long thin instrument with a light and camera
  • Laryngocleft repair — a procedure to fix a gap between the larynx and trachea
  • Laryngoscopy — a procedure to view the voice box, vocal cords and throat using a long tiny device inserted into the mouth
  • Laryngotracheal reconstruction — surgery to widen the trachea (windpipe) to improve breathing
  • Supraglottoplasty — surgery to repair the upper larynx to improve breathing

Pharynx procedures we perform include:

  • Excision of ranula — removal of a cyst from beneath the tongue
  • Lingual tonsillectomy — removing the bulk of the tonsils to improve breathing, often used to help with sleep disorders like sleep apnea
  • Pharyngeal flap — when tissue from the back of the throat is used to repair the soft palate and improve airflow when speaking
  • Sphincter pharyngoplasty — surgery to repair the function of the soft palate
  • Tongue reduction — a procedure to reduce the side of the tongue while maintaining regular tongue functioning
  • Tongue suspension — surgery to keep the back of the tongue from obstructing your airway
  • Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy — surgical removal of tonsils and adenoids
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty — a procedure to widen the throat by removing excess tissue

Neck procedures we perform include:

  • Excision of masses or cysts — removal of growths in the neck
  • Neck dissection — major surgery to remove lymph nodes that have become cancerous
  • Parotidectomy — surgery to remove a tumor of the largest salivary gland
  • Salivary gland removal — surgery to remove the submandibular salivary gland because of a tumor, stone or infection
  • Thyroidectomy — a procedure to remove all or part of the thyroid gland

Because we are part of the Rocky Mountain Pediatric specialists network, our patients also have access to experienced surgeons who are experts in pediatric surgery for certain congenital ENT conditions, as well as minimally invasive neonatal procedures for infants as young as one or two days old.

Pediatric audiology

Using evidence-based practices and state-of-the-art equipment, we strive to help children with mild hearing difficulties to the profoundly deaf or hard of hearing. Our pediatric audiology services include:

  • Developmentally appropriate behavioral testing
  • Fitting for hearing aids and assistive listening devices
  • Follow-up diagnostic hearing evaluations for babies who didn't pass their newborn hearing test

Physiological auditory tests

Our audiologists have various hearing assessments they use to measure the function of the parts of your child's ear. These evaluations are a good indicator of your child's hearing. Assessments include:

  • Acoustic reflex decay testing — a tool that measures how well a reflex contraction holds or weakens over time
  • Acoustic reflex threshold — a test used to check the functioning of your child's acoustic reflex, which is triggered by loud noises
  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR) — an evaluation method used to assess a how child’s hearing nerve responds to different sounds
  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) test — a diagnostic test that assesses how well your child's cochlea (inner ear) is working
  • Tympanometry — a tool used to assess the middle ear eardrum and bones using air pressure

After a hearing evaluation, we can create a treatment plan or provide referrals to medical providers if necessary. We also advocate for our patients by connecting them with community resources and appropriate professionals. These partnerships include audiologists, aural habilitation therapists, speech therapists, early intervention specialists and teachers.

Auditory brainstem response (ABR)

ABR is a tool that can determine how a child’s hearing nerve responds to different sounds. The test is completed by using non-intrusive electrodes on simple sticky pads. We will carefully place these pads on your child’s head to measure a brain wave in response to sounds presented to your child through earphones. The electrodes are connected to a computer to determine the presence of the brain waves responsible for hearing. We test at various volumes, including the quietest level at which the wave appears. The ABR test takes approximately two hours.

We combine the ABR test results with other measures we can determine the level of hearing loss your child has. It is crucial to prepare your baby for the test ahead of time. Our suggestions for a smooth ABR test are as follows:

  • Keep your baby awake and wait to feed them until you arrive at the appointment.
  • If possible, bring someone with you so they can sit in the back of the car and keep the child awake.
  • Once you are in the testing room and your child has been prepped for the test, you can nurse or feed your baby so they fall asleep naturally.
  • The test will take place in a quiet room while your child sleeps in your arms or in a car seat.
  • If possible, do not bring siblings or other young children along to the appointment due to the long test time required.
  • If siblings do accompany you to the appointment, please bring another adult so they may play in the waiting room.

Cochlear implants

A cochlear implant is a small electronic neuroprosthesis that is surgically implanted to help offer the profoundly deaf a sense of sound. Our cochlear implant team consists of otolaryngologists, audiologists, social workers and auditory verbal therapists to ensure your child is supported during this transition.

Who may benefit from a cochlear implant?

Cochlear implants are not right for every patient. They might be a good choice for your child if they:

  • They have inner-ear hearing loss and do not show enough benefit from traditional amplification such as hearing aids
  • They have hearing loss in one or both ears
  • They have auditory neuropathy and do not benefit from traditional amplification