To enhance the level of service that we can provide in our office, Alamo ENT Associates has installed a Xoran MiniCAT CT scanner at our Stone Oak location. This allows us to quickly and painlessly obtain high quality images of the sinuses and ears while at the same time only requiring 1/5 to 1/20 the radiation dose of a standard CT scan. This makes for a much safer option for our patients than conventional imaging. Furthermore, these high resolution images are compatible with the image guidance surgical systems used by our physicians in case sinus surgery were ever needed. This is a very comfortable and stress free scan that takes no more than 40 seconds to perform. The patient remains seated in an upright position throughout the entire procedure making this scanner suitable for patients of almost any age.
We have been awarded full accreditation for our Xoran MiniCAT CT scanner through the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC). Our Xoran MiniCAT is one of only a few in the San Antonio area and, as of February 2018, it has been updated with the latest version of Xoran software. Our scanner is recertified and safety checked on an annual basis. Our CT scans are covered by Medicare and we have successfully added this service to most of our commercial insurance contracts as well.
All of our scans are reviewed by one of our experienced otolaryngologists and over read by a board certified, Texas licensed radiologist.
Many patients have been told
that they have a deviated septum, but most aren’t sure exactly what that means
or even if it needs to be treated. The
nasal cavity is separated into left and right sides by a partition (wall) that
is made up of cartilage and bone.
Ideally this wall is straight so that each side of the nose has equal
space for breathing. However, very
commonly this wall is not completely straight, in which case it is called
This could mean that it is
bent to one side (>), bent to both sides (S), or there could be a part of
the septum that sticks out like a thorn on a rose stem, which we call a
spur. All of these configurations block
the breathing space on one or both sides.
This can cause it to feel like it is hard to breathe through the nose on
one or both sides or that the breathing ability is different on one side or the
other. This can give problems with
exercise, sleep, or just feeling like you can’t get enough air. All of these can make you feel tired and
frustrated or that you’re not able to perform to the best of your ability. In some cases it can even contribute to
snoring or sleep apnea.
A septum may be deviated as a
result of trauma to the nose, but some people may have a deviation just from
their normal growth and development.
Sometimes a deviation can be seen just by looking inside the front of
the nose, but many times the deviation is further back and it requires an
in-office endoscope or CT scan to fully identify. There may be other abnormalities that can
contribute to the nasal obstruction, including swelling from allergies or
sinusitis, nasal polyps, enlarged adenoids, or in rare cases, tumors. Your physician will decide which of these
evaluations is appropriate based on your history.
As we always want to try
non-surgical options first, your physician may opt to give a trial of
medications to see how your symptoms respond.
However, if the obstruction is purely structural and not due to
swelling, or if medicines have failed to improve your symptoms, then a surgical
procedure may be discussed.
Surgery for a deviated septum
is a short outpatient procedure that is performed entirely inside your
nose. It will not change the outside appearance
of the nose and there are no external incisions or bruising. It consists of straightening or removing deviated
portions of the septal cartilage and bone to relieve any obstruction in the
nose. No nasal packing is required. Time away from work is usually 4-7 days. Other procedures may be required at the same
time like turbinate reduction or polyp removal depending on your situation.
Nasal breathing is very
important from both a medical and lifestyle standpoint. If you feel your nasal breathing is not what
you think it should be, make an appointment with one of our expert physicians
at Alamo ENT for an evaluation.
Turbinates are normal structures in the nose that you’ve
probably never heard of. They are
structures made of bone and soft tissue that live at the bottom of the nose
along the outside wall of the nasal cavity.
There are multiple turbinates on both sides of the nose,
but the ones that are the most important in nasal breathing are the inferior
turbinates. The soft tissue portions of
these structures are dynamic. They swell
and shrink to help regulate airflow within the nose. However, these can become quite swollen if they
get inflamed from irritants or allergies.
The more swollen they are, the more space they take up in the nose and
the more nasal obstruction you might feel.
Medicines may be used to help shrink down swelling and
counteract the allergies that may be responsible for the swelling in the first
place. If medicines are not effective,
surgery may be performed to reduce the size of the turbinates and reposition
them so that it opens up more space in the nose for breathing. This is often done in conjunction with
septoplasty, but can be performed alone.
In many cases it can be performed safely in the office under local
If you’re having nasal obstruction issues, make an
appointment with one of our board-certified ENT specialists for evaluation.
Whether you are receiving a new pair of hearing aids for the first time or replacing an old pair, there will be a period of adjustment while you get used to the new devices. It’s important to the adjustment process to manage your expectations and be aware of how to best adapt during this period. At Alamo ENT Associates, your ENT Surgeon will refer to your our experienced group of Audiologists to fit you with a hearing aid.
Here are some things to remember after getting your new devices:
There will be follow up appointments
Visiting your Audiologist will be essential in fine-tuning your new hearing aids. They will be able to make adjustments to the devices and help you with any problems you may be experiencing. Be sure to take note of any issues so that you can be prepared for each follow up appointment.
You will experience a new array of sounds!
After receiving your devices, expect to experience a variety of new sounds! The subtle sounds of every day life will start to return to you. Background noise such as footsteps, faucets and birds will suddenly become much more clear. You may not have experienced these sounds for an extended period of time so it will take time to begin to process them.
Be aware of the Occlusion Effect
New hearing devices can sometimes create the sensation of your voice being loud and muffled. This Is called the Occlusion Effect and is a normal part of the process. If this effect doesn’t subside you can always visit your Alamo ENT Associates Audiologist to troubleshoot.
You may notice feedback
If you insert or remove your hearing aids with out switching the devices off you will likely experience some feedback. This feedback will subside once the devices are in place. If you experience any additional feedback once they are secure, contact your Audiologist for adjustments.
You will have to retrain yourself to hear
After experiencing hearing loss, it will take time to learn how to process sounds again. You will have to spend time practicing filtering out new sounds and focusing your hearing on whats important. Hearing is a complex function and it will take your brain time to re-acclimate to the world of sound.
Hearing aids will need to be replaced every 5 years
Your devices will need to be replaced when they wear out. Luckily, technology is continually evolving and improving. Replacing your devices regularly will ensure that you are getting the highest quality results.
We are here to help you through the transition
Adjusting to new hearing aids will take time, but our ENTs are committed to making the transition a smooth one. Our doctors recommend:
Maintaining a positive attitude. Committing to the process is essential for attaining the best results.
Learning as much as possible about your hearing aids and the adjustment period. Making the transition requires cooperation of the mind and body.
Resting when you need to. Your hearing aids will greatly improve the quality of your hearing. So be patient and look forward to better communication and confidence.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to Alamo ENT. Our ENTs are always happy to help in any way they can.
Tinnitus can be caused by a variety of internal and external factors. Before you can start to treat it, it is important to find the root of the problem with a proper diagnosis. At Alamo ENT, our doctors will meet with you to determine your condition and find the cause of the ringing in your ears. With a general physical exam and a thorough exam of your ears, we will look for an obvious reason for your condition. If the cause is not easily identifiable, you may meet with our resident audiologists for hearing and nerve testing. In some cases, you may also need testing from our in-office CT Scanner to ensure there is no structural damage in the ear.
What Are Some Causes of Tinnitus?
As stated, it is important to determine the causes of your condition in the diagnosis stage before treatment. Some common reasons for tinnitus include:
How Can We Treat Tinnitus?
Unfortunately, there is no magic switch that can be flipped to stop the pain of ringing in the ears. But, there are options out there that can help manage the stunning pain that tinnitus causes. One method of treatment is hearing aids.These have been proven to help diminish the effects of tinnitus, and over 60% of hearing aid users have reported partial or complete relief from their symptoms. Another option available is sound therapy. Often combined with education and counseling, sound therapy uses certain noises and amplifications to relieve the pain of tinnitus.
Find Relief With Specialized Doctors
If you or someone you know is suffering from the intolerable conditions of tinnitus, please contact Alamo ENT immediately to meet with our physicians. Together, we will work to find the best treatment option for you, and restore comfortable hearing to your life.