Throat surgery treats a wide variety of conditions, from life-threatening cancers to chronic sore throats and breathing difficulties. Because throat surgery may be an option for many types of diseases, we’ve compiled some of the most common reasons throat surgery may be needed.

Throat surgery for discovering cancer.

Oral cancer can develop in any part of the mouth, including the back part of the throat.

According to the National Cancer Institute, every year, roughly 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. Often, head and neck cancers are discovered by surgery and treated using chemotherapy and radiation.

According to the American Cancer Society laryngeal cancer starts in the larynx, which is also called the “voice box.”

Hypopharyngeal cancer affects the part of your throat that is beside and behind your larynx,

Tonsillectomy

This is one of the most common throat surgeries performed in the United States. Located in the back of the throat, the tonsils help your body’s immune system by trapping germs. However, when chronic throat infections become the norm, it may be necessary to remove your tonsils. [link to blog “Should You Have Your Child’s Tonsils Removed” when it is posted.]

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (removal of the uvula)

Yes, we know that word’s a mouthful. (That’s why we refer to it as UPPP. ) This surgery removes soft tissue in the back of the throat, including the uvula. The uvula is the tissue that hangs down the back of your mouth that you can easily see when you look in a mirror.

This surgery treats obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when you stop breathing for several seconds at a time throughout the entire night, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. If left untreated, sleep apnea puts you at risk for heart disease or stroke.

To repair problems with the thyroid

A thyroidectomy involves removing part or all of the thyroid gland. According to the Mayo Clinic, this gland is located at the base of your neck and is responsible for producing hormones that regulate a wide variety of bodily functions including:

  • Digestion

  • Metabolic rate
  • Heart function
  • Brain development

While a thyroidectomy(or partial thyroidectomy)  is used to treat thyroid cancer, it can also treat goiters (a benign enlargement of the thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).

Other reasons throat surgery is performed

Throat surgery is needed:

  • To repair tissue as a result of trauma or injury

  • To correct structural abnormalities of the throat or soft palate
  • To remove benign (non-cancerous)  tumors that are blocking the airway

We’re the experts in treating disorders of the ear, nose and throat

At Raleigh Capitol ENT, our physicians and surgeons have extensive experience treating a wide variety of throat disorders. We take time to answer all your questions in order to enable us to create a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

If you’re interested in more information about throat cancer, please see our previous blogs:

Do You Feel a Mass in Your Neck? Be Prepared to Answer These Questions at Your Doctor Appointment

Oral Cancer: The Importance of Early Detection

What You Need to Know About Throat Cancer

Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose, and Throat is the area's premiere physician-owned ENT practice with six convenient locations throughout Wake County. Our board-certified physicians have extensive experience in treating both common and complex cases to help adults and children alike. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us.

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Sources:

American Cancer Society. “What Are Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancers?” Online.

The Mayo Clinic. “Thyroidectomy.” Online.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)” Online.