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Why Pediatric ENT?

Trying to figure out what kind of doctor you should become? Wondering what specialty you should choose? Then SheMD's Why Specialty Series is perfect for you! We're bringing you female physicians sharing WHY they chose their specialty. Today's post is on why Dr. Shapiro chose the field of Pediatric ENT and why Pediatric ENT is a great field for all.

Well, everyone thinks that their specialty is the best, and I am no different! Pediatric otolaryngology is a subspecialty within otolaryngology, where we complete an otolaryngology residency (usually comprised of 6-12 months of general surgery and 4- 4.5 years of otolaryngology), followed by a one-year fellowship (or rarely two years) in pediatric otolaryngology training. It seems like a long haul to get there, but the years of training get better and better each year, and the specialty is really a great one.

What we do

Pediatric ENT is a mix of very healthy children with very treatable issues such as recurrent ear infections, snoring and sleep apnea, hearing issues, nasal congestion, etc and critically ill children. We treat issues both medically and surgically, typically spending 60% of our time seeing patients and 40% in the operating room. Our surgeries are very commonly very quick, such as ear tube surgery for recurrent ear infections or chronic middle ear fluid. Ear tube surgery, also known as ‘bilateral myringotomy and tube placement’ can be performed in just a few minutes. We also perform many tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies, or removal of the tonsils and adenoids, primarily for breathing issues such as snoring or sleep apnea. Kids usually recover quite quickly from these surgeries, and the improvement in their quality of life is one of the reasons we love our work.

We also treat emergencies, such as food and toy choking accidents, neck abscesses, airway emergencies, and severe nose bleeds. In addition, many of us treat critically ill newborns and children with airway disorders, head and neck cancers, and craniofacial disorders. These surgeries and interventions can be quite stressful to manage, but working with a great team of colleagues makes the work satisfying and thankfully often quite successful.

Another great thing about our specialty is that the collegiality of other pediatric subspecialty colleagues is phenomenal. We work with pediatricians, pediatric anesthesiologists, intensivists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, and cardiologists, just to name a few. We are all focused on doing the best for our patients as a team.

Some of the best aspects of our speciality

  1. Surgeries that can change a child’s life in a matter of minutes

  2. Ability to handle an airway in a tiny newborn baby better than anyone in the hospital (if i do say so myself;)

  3. Getting to know amazing children and families.

  4. Many of my patients I’ve known since they were in the NICU– and are now in college!

  5. Getting to learn new surgical techniques and benefit from new technologies to make surgeries less invasive, safer, and with easier recoveries.

  6. The best colleagues

  7. The best patients!

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