All Posts By

Dr Temp Patterson

Dr Temp Patterson

Dr. Temp Patterson explains the role of an otolaryngologist

By | Dr Temp Patterson

Among the oldest medical specialties in the U.S., Dr. Temp Patterson explains his role as an otolaryngologist.

A surgical subspecialty within medicine, otolaryngology deals specifically with conditions of the ear, nose, and throat, as well as related structures of the head and neck. Specialist physicians such as Dr. Temp Patterson, an experienced otolaryngologist, are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating conditions relating to the ears, nose, throat, sinuses, larynx, and mouth, in particular.

“Otolaryngologists are commonly referred to as ENT physicians,” explains Dr. Patterson, whereby ENT stands for ‘ear, nose, and throat.’

During a typical day, an otolaryngologist such as Dr. Patterson is likely to address any number of complaints including hearing loss, ear infections, and tinnitus, among other issues of the ear or ears. Nasal complaints and conditions, meanwhile, may include sinusitis, allergies, and nasal obstructions caused by septum deviation, according to Dr. Patterson.

He and fellow ENT physicians, in diagnosing problems related to the throat, may treat complaints surrounding the larynx—or voice box—as well as the esophagus, or upper aerodigestive tract. “An otolaryngologist will also be tasked with addressing vocal or swallowing disorders,” Dr. Patterson adds.

Away specifically from the ears, nose, and throat, otolaryngologists also deal with medical issues relating to the head and neck. In addition to treating infections in this area of the body, physicians such as Dr. Patterson also address cancerous and non-cancerous tumors of the face and neck. Otolaryngologists are also employed to treat facial trauma and deformities, performing both cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries.

An ENT physician may also choose to focus on one or more specialties within the field. These can include laryngology, allergies, pediatrics, neurotology, specific conditions of the head and neck, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and rhinology. To qualify as an otolaryngologist, board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology, an applicant must complete four years of college, four years of medical school, and five or more years of specialty training. They must also pass a board examination.

“My goal, whether as a physician, an otolaryngologist, or in the role of surgeon, is ultimately to provide high-quality, affordable care and services to each of my patients,” adds Dr. Patterson, wrapping up.

Dr. Temp Patterson is a physician and surgeon practicing in Burley, Idaho. The specialist doctor has been in practice since 1996, having attended BYU, the University of Utah Medical School, and completing his residency in otolaryngology at the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Temp Patterson looks at earwax and what to do about it

By | Dr Temp Patterson

Earwax has three main purposes, chief among which is to keep the ear canal from getting too dry.

In addition to moisturizing the ear canal, earwax simultaneously repels water, helping to prevent liquid from entering the ear. The two other main purposes of earwax, according to Dr. Temp Patterson, a specialist ear, nose and throat physician from Burley, Idaho, are to help stop foreign bodies from getting into the ear canal, while also boasting antiseptic properties, fighting off potential ear infections.

“The ear canal is shaped somewhat like an hourglass, narrowing part way down,” explains Dr. Patterson, “with the skin of the outer part of the canal boasting special glands which produce earwax.”

While earwax has these benefits, it can also become problematic for some individuals. “Most of the time, the ear canals are self-cleaning, where old earwax is constantly transported by the body from the ear canal to the ear opening where it usually dries, flakes, and falls out,” continues Dr. Temp Patterson.

According to the doctor, an excellent time to clean the outside of the ear is immediately following a bath or shower. “Simply cleaning away any wax which has worked its way out of the ear canal with a towel or tissue should be perfectly adequate in most cases,” he adds.

Under ideal circumstances, Dr. Patterson reveals that it should never be strictly necessary to clean the ear canals. “However,” he adds, “we all know that this isn’t always so.”

When wax has accumulated to a degree whereby which it blocks the ear canal and thus begins to inhibit or otherwise impede hearing, it usually becomes necessary for a physician such as Dr. Patterson to have to wash it out, vacuum it, or remove it with special instruments.

Alternatively, a patient with problematic earwax may be prescribed special ear drops, designed to soften the wax, facilitating the easing of any blockage. Over-the-counter alternatives are also available, according to Dr. Patterson.

“You may soften problematic earwax with such an over-the-counter solution, adding several drops into the ear canal twice per day. Various products are available in drugstores without a prescription,” explains the ear, nose and throat specialist.

“If, however,” Dr. Patterson adds, wrapping up, “your ear still feels blocked after using the drops for a few days, you should consult your physician who may elect to wash it out.”

Dr. Temp Patterson looks at problems associated with tonsil stones

By | Dr Temp Patterson

While holes in the tonsils are normal and present in almost everyone, they’re often tied to the immediate cause of problems in this area.

Holes in the tonsils, also known as crypts, can be problematic as they may harbor bacteria and can become blocked with food particles, mucus, and other debris. Tonsils contain cells called lymphocytes which help to protect the body from infections. They do so by trapping bacteria and viruses which enter the throat, halting them before they reach other parts of the body.

Blockages in these crypts are commonly referred to as tonsil stones and can have an adverse effect on the work which the tonsils do in the body. Severe tonsil stones and resulting infections or viruses are primary causes of tonsillitis, among other problems. While tonsillitis affects both adults and children, it’s children who are most prone to the condition.

“Unfortunately, conditions such as tonsillitis often damage the crypts, or holes, in the tonsils, leading to an increased chance of the recurrence of tonsil-related problems,” explains Dr. Temp Patterson, an otolaryngologist from Burley, Idaho.

Individuals with tonsillitis often present with swollen glands in the neck. Other symptoms of tonsillitis include a sore throat, pain when swallowing, a headache, a fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and feeling generally unwell.

Dr. Patterson goes on to explain that one particular form of tonsillitis is strep throat. Strep throat is infectious and passed from person to person through the germs in coughs and sneezes. Symptoms are similar to tonsillitis and may also include a painful, scratchy throat, swollen, red-colored tonsils, and red spots on the roof of the mouth.

“Another condition associated with the tonsils and often tied to tonsil stones is Mononucleosis,” reveals Dr. Patterson. Often referred to simply as ‘mono,’ the condition causes the holes in the tonsils to become inflamed, sometimes leading to or exacerbating other tonsil-related conditions.

“Symptoms of mono include many of those seen in both tonsillitis and strep throat, plus swollen and pus-filled tonsils, fatigue, rashes, body aches, swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or both, and less commonly, swelling of the liver or spleen,” adds the Burley-based doctor and ear, nose and throat specialist. Mono is infectious, and symptoms can take 4-6 weeks to develop after an individual is infected with the virus.

“Lacking oral hygiene is another cause of poor tonsil health, sometimes leading to tonsil stones and the conditions mentioned above,” continues Dr. Patterson.

This is because bacteria and debris build up, blocking the holes in the tonsils when regular tooth brushing and flossing is not practiced. Tonsil stones typically consist of this debris, as well as dead cells and bacteria which becomes trapped in the holes in the tonsils and calcifies, forming hard stones.

“Tonsil stones, where not associated directly with the aforementioned conditions, can present themselves via a white coating visible at the back of the throat, trouble swallowing, pain in the ears, and a persistent cough,” adds the otolaryngologist. Left untreated they can cause persistent sore throats and lead to foul breath, also known as halitosis.

According to Dr. Patterson, individuals may limit their chances of developing tonsil stones by brushing their teeth for two minutes at least twice a day, flossing daily, drinking plenty of water, using an antibacterial mouthwash, and stopping smoking if applicable.

Treatment for tonsil stones will often depend on how large the stones are, and whether or not they are causing any symptoms.

Smaller stones can generally be dislodged by gargling salt water, according to Dr. Patterson. “If this doesn’t work, an individual may want to talk to their doctor who may use lasers or sound waves to dislodge the stones, but in some cases, tonsillectomy is required,” he adds.

A doctor may also suggest a simple surgical procedure if the stones are large and difficult to remove.

“Occasionally,” adds Dr. Temp Patterson, wrapping up, “it can prove helpful to use antibiotics to treat tonsil stones and their side effects, particularly if they go on to cause an infection.”