Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat)

ENT doctor examines patient

Otolaryngology is a specialty devoted to the evaluation and treatment of ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders as well as head and neck, hearing and communication problems. We understand how ENT conditions can affect hearing, learning, speech and sleep and impact development. Our teams provide care that takes your whole child, not just the condition, into account.

Learn More About Otolaryngology

ENT conditions in children can range from recurring ear infections and enlarged tonsils, to sinus diseases or a complex craniofacial anomaly (irregular or abnormal growth of head and facial bones). Nemours ear, nose and throat doctors, called otolaryngologists, are board-certified ENT surgeons who are highly trained in the latest minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery techniques.

The most common procedures our surgeons perform include:
  • tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils)
  • adenoidectomy (removal of the adenoidal tissue)
  • myringotomy with tube placement (removal of fluid from the middle ear and insertion of ear tubes)

Nemours surgeons are also skilled in advanced reconstructive techniques and often work with other specialists to try to combine one or more surgeries during a single hospitalization, which helps reduce the number of times your child needs to receive anesthesia.

Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington

1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
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For Appointments: (302) 651-4200

What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
Returning Patients
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Forms & Resources
Returning Patient Forms
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families
Support Service for Overnight Stays

When you bring your child to the Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, you can expect top-level care from our highly skilled and experienced Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) teams. In fact, our physicians have been named among the “Best Doctors in America®.”

Our ENT physicians work closely with a team of specially-trained pediatric anesthesiologists and audiologists to offer medical and surgical treatments to children with special problems of the ears, nose, throat, mouth, and sinuses. Common problems include infections in the ear, nose, sinus, and throat; hearing loss; airway problems; foreign body aspiration; and head and neck masses.

Partnering With You to Help Your Child

We want you to know that you are an important part of your child’s care team and we encourage your active involvement in the decision-making process. Our commitment to family-centered care is also reflected in the attention you and your child will receive from our warm and welcoming staff, and in our efforts to make sure that you have an appointment within 5 days whenever possible.

Making Your Appointment More Convenient

If your child is being seen for ENT issues related to speech, hearing, or ear discharge, we will work to set up an Audiology appointment on the same day as your ENT appointment. This collaboration helps us provide the optimum care for your child and convenience for you, since our specialists are all under one roof.

Expert General and Specialized ENT Care

Nemours otolaryngologists are board certified and specialize in pediatrics. This means that our doctors have expertise in treating a wide range of ENT conditions in children.

Our program is also unique in that each of our ENT specialists also concentrate on specific areas such as:

Pioneering New Techniques for Treating Tonsil Problems

Every year Nemours ENT surgeons remove thousands of swollen tonsils from children because of chronic tonsillitis (infected tonsils). However, apnea (pauses
in breathing during sleep often caused by enlarged tonsils blocking a child’s airway) has become the most common reason for removing children’s tonsils (tonsillectomy).

Nemours ENT surgeons use a new technique called intracapsular tonsillectomy to remove enlarged tonsils. This method involves removing most tonsil tissue while leaving a thin patch of tonsil to protect the underlying muscles. In some studies, this has been shown to result in less postoperative pain and a quicker return to a normal diet. The traditional tonsillectomy procedure is associated with a 2% to 5% post-operative bleeding rate, while the intracapsular method has brought that rate down to approximately 0.6%. Our doctors have treated close to 7,000 children with the intracapsular tonsillectomy technique.

Learn More About Our Low Bleeding Rate After Tonsillectomies »

In addition to tonsillectomies, our surgeons also perform: 
  • adenoidectomy (removal of the adenoidal tissue)
  • myringotomy with tube placement (removal of fluid from the middle ear and insertion of ear tubes)

Our ENT surgeons perform thousands of surgeries a year and our teams approach every procedure with the utmost care and attention to detail, choosing the least invasive procedures to help speed recovery and enhance the well-being of your child. 

Providing Specialized ENT Programs for Children

Cochlear Implant and Auditory Rehabilitation Program

A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device for children with severe to profound hearing impairment who receive reduced benefit from hearing aids. We offer the devices, the surgery, and a comprehensive auditory rehabilitation program. Our Cochlear Implant and Auditory Rehabilitation Program provides ongoing therapy and long term support to patients and families, both before and after cochlear implant surgery.

Ear Anomalies Program

Ear anomalies are differences from the norm in the size or shape of the external, middle or inner ear. These anomalies may affect the cosmetic appearance of your child's ear and/or hearing ability. Our Ear Anomalies Program evaluates and treats a wide range of ear anomalies in children. 

Our interdisciplinary team has extensive experience in caring for children with ear anomalies, and includes specialists from the hospital's otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), plastic surgery and audiology departments. We provide coordinated appointments and comprehensive services including:

  • hearing evaluations
  • hearing loss options, including hearing aids and bone-anchored hearing assistive devices
  • ear reconstruction, including cartilage, MEDPOR® implants and prosthetic techniques
  • ear canal reconstruction surgery

All care options are state-of-the-art and customized to your child’s specific needs.

Typical ear anomalies we treat include: 

  • microtia (underdeveloped external ear)
  • atresia (absence of ear canal)
  • anotia (absence of external ear)
  • constricted ears
  • cryptotia (upper portion of the ear hidden under the skin)
  • ear canal stenosis (narrowing of the ear canal)
  • protruding ears
Pediatric Voice Program

Nemours offers a Pediatric Voice Program specifically designed for children whose voice quality is affected by medical or behavioral problems. The most common symptom we see is chronic hoarseness, typically the result of calluses (called nodules) on the vocal cords. Our clinic team is comprised of members from ENT, Speech, Gastroenterology, and Pulmonlogy and offers special diagnostic testing that can assess voice box and vocal cord function and determine the cause of your child’s voice problem.

Sleep Disordered Breathing Program

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is the term for breathing difficulties that occur during sleep. This can include anything from frequent loud snoring to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which involves repeated episodes of partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep.

Our program for children with sleep disordered breathing is the first of its kind in the Delaware Valley. The Complex Sleep Disordered Breathing Clinic (CSDBC) is a collaboration between our specialists in pulmonology and otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat, or ENT). The clinic allows for clinical decisions regarding your child's care to be made in a team-oriented fashion, since ENT and pulmonology staff members are seeing your child and your family the same day, in the same clinic.

For some children, sleep apnea can disappear after their tonsils and adenoids are removed, but not for all. For many in this latter group, a procedure called “drug-induced sleep endoscopy,” (or DISE), may be recommended. This involves the use of a flexible tube with a tiny camera (endoscope), which is passed through one side of the nose as the child begins to snore and experience some blockage of breathing. The doctor can then observe the potential blockage of breathing in the palate, tongue and throat regions. The most appropriate treatment plan can then be made — medical, surgical or a combination of the two.

Vestibular and Balance Disorders

Our Pediatric Vestibular team offers advanced testing and treatment for balance problems (dizziness, falling or the sensation of falling, disorientation, or nausea) as part of our Vestibular and Balance Disorders Program. Our state-of-the-art and child-friendly equipment helps pinpoint both the cause and the most effective treatment for balance problems in children.

Working as a Team to Care for Your Child

Whether your child’s ENT problem is straightforward (such as a chronic ear infection) or much more complicated (such as deafness), we practice medicine in a way that brings together skills and talent from different areas of expertise.

Your Child’s ENT Team Members

Members from different specialties collaborate to create solutions to treat and meet your child’s needs.

Health professionals who may be involved include:
  • surgeons from other areas, such as oral or plastic surgery
  • audiologists
  • speech and language pathologists
  • behavioral health experts
  • deaf educators
  • neurologists (doctors who treat problems of the nervous system)
  • physician assistants
  • pediatric fellow and residents

We also strive to make things as easy and convenient as possible for you and your child. For example, because our doctors and therapists are all under one roof, your child can often have multiple appointments scheduled in one day.

Types of ENT Conditions We Treat

Our doctors and teams provide advanced ENT care that takes your whole child, and not just the condition, into account.

We address conditions and areas that include:

We also work together to address ENT-related concerns associated with other conditions, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, cleft lip and palate, and skeletal dysplasia.

Videos to Help You Know What to Expect

If your child needs surgery to correct tonsil or adenoid disease we’re pleased to offer access to an online educational program about the procedure.

Created by Emmi® in conjunction with KidsHealth.org, the easy-to-use EmmiKids animated program will help you better understand the details of
the surgical process and what to expect at every step. Your doctor will give you a special code that will allow you to access your EmmiKids video from any computer.

Learn More About EmmiKids Videos »