Tonsillitis may be either acute (characterised by a severe sore throat, temperatures and difficulty swallowing), or chronic (a constant, low grade sore throat). In either case, symptoms often mean that people miss time off work, and require frequent courses of antibiotics. When episodes of tonsillitis occur regularly, a tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils) provides good symptom relief.
The new onset of a hoarse or weak voice that has been present for more than 3 weeks should be investigated urgently. Assessment involves a thorough examination of the head and neck, including a fibreoptic examination of the voice box using a flexible endoscope. Treatment depends upon the cause of the voice problem, but may involve medications, speech therapy or surgery.
SALIVARY GLAND DISEASE
A variety of conditions affect the salivary glands including infection, stones and tumours. Swelling of a salivary gland should always be investigated to rule out a serious underlying cause. In most cases this will involve the use of an ultrasound, CT or MRI scan. These will determine the cause of the salivary gland problem, and guide further management. Further information on salivary gland surgery can be found here.
Snoring can interfere with sleep quality for an individual and their partner. It is commonly caused by collapse of the airway during sleep. Accurate assessment and identification of the site (level) of airway collapse is critical in the successful management of snoring and sleep disordered breathing. Depending on the site of the airway collapse, different treatments are available including tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy and surgery for nasal blockage.
HEAD & NECK CANCER
Some 'red flag' symptoms affecting the head and neck may indicate a serious underlying condition such as a mouth or throat cancer. These symptoms include a persistent sore throat, hoarse voice, swallowing difficulty or neck lump and should all be investigated urgently. More information on the investigation and management of head & neck cancer is available here.