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What is an Otolaryngologist?

An Otolaryngologist is a physician trained in the medical and surgical care of head and neck disorders. Commonly referred to as an “ear, nose and throat doctor,” an Otolaryngologist must complete 4 years of medical school and then at least 5 years of head and neck surgical and medical residency training to be eligible for the American Board of Otolaryngology exam. To become board certified, the otolaryngologist must pass a written examination as well as a rigorous oral exam. Board Certified Otolaryngologists have demonstrated the required competency in otology (ear disorders), rhinology (nasal and sinus disorders), allergy, head and neck surgery (thyroid and parathyroid surgery, throat cancer, salivary gland surgery, sleep apnea surgery, neck tumors), pediatric ear, nose and throat disorders, laryngology (voice and swallowing disorders) and facial plastic surgery. Otolaryngologists serve as community resources for public health issues including hearing impairment, oral and skin cancer prevention, obstructive sleep apnea and air quality.

What is a Rhinologist?

A Rhinologist is a physician who practices Rhinology, the medical science devoted to the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the nose and the paranasal sinuses. Rhinologists are ENT subspecialists who have unique expertise in the medical and surgical treatment of nasal and sinus disorders.  Most rhinologists trained in the modern era have completed an otolaryngology-head and neck surgery residency in addition to a post-residency fellowship of at least 1 year duration in Rhinology.  Because of this additional dedicated study, rhinologists have extra training in medical and surgical treatment of complex disorders of the nose and sinuses such as sinus tumors, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, recurrent nasal polyps and complicated chronic sinusitis (i.e., sinusitis associated with cystic fibrosis, auto-immune disease, immune deficiency and damage from prior surgery).  Rhinologists generally treat complex nasal and sinus disorders on a daily basis and therefore develop a large volume of experience and knowledge with respect to unusual sinus conditions. At the Arizona Sinus Center, our Rhinologists stay current with the latest medical and surgical advancements via regional and national rhinology meetings, journal article review and participation in multidisciplinary skull base disorder team meetings.

“I found Otolaryngology to be the most challenging and rewarding field in medicine, and that’s why I chose to pursue a career in this specialty. The complexity of head and neck anatomy is incredible and mastering the “framework, plumbing and circuitry” of this region of the body has been a gratifying experience. Otolaryngology allows me to use technology and delicate surgical techniques to improve a patient’s ability to hear…to smell…to taste…to speak…to breathe. As an Otolaryngologist, I have been given the opportunity to restore a patient’s ability to truly enjoy life. For this I am grateful.”

Ryan M. Rehl, MD 


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