Ear, Nose, and Throat (Otolaryngology)

WVU Medicine Otolaryngology offers you the full spectrum of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) services for common conditions like allergies and ear infections to innovative treatments for hearing, sleep, and voice disorders. With exceptional care for otolaryngology issues, including areas of the head and neck, WVU Medicine provides adults and children with the most advanced ENT care available in West Virginia.

Conditions We Treat

WVU Medicine experts from several medical specialties work together to provide the highest quality of care. Depending on your condition, treatment may include a variety of therapies recommended by our expert physicians. Some of our advanced ENT treatment methods include: endoscopic sinus surgery, allergy and hearing testing, robotic cancer surgery, skull base surgery, sleep and voice disorder evaluation, and facial plastic surgery.

Pediatric ENT

  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Hearing loss
  • Pharyngitis and tonsillitis
  • Sleep apnea

Hearing and Balance

  • Dizziness (vertigo)
  • Ear infections
  • Hearing loss
  • Meniere’s disease

Sinus and Allergy

  • Allergies
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps

Head and Neck

  • Head and neck cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Skull base tumors
  • Throat cancer

Voice and Swallowing

  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Voice disorders

Facial Plastic Surgery

  • Age-related changes in appearance
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Cosmetic enhancement
  • Facial trauma from accident or injury

Appointments and Directions

855-WVU-CARE 855-988-2273
Physician Office Center
1 Medical Center Drive
Morgantown, WV 26506

Clinic Number

304-598-4800

Clinic Hours

Monday – Friday
8 am – 5 pm

Suncrest Towne Centre
1065 Suncrest Towne Centre Drive
Morgantown, WV 26505

Monday – Friday
8 am – 5 pm

Fairmont ENT
1712 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554

Monday – Friday
8 am – 5 pm

Uniontown ENT
10 Highland Park Drive
Uniontown, PA 15401

Monday – Friday
8 am – 5 pm

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Twenty-five percent of people are habitual snorers. Problem snoring is more frequent in males and overweight people, and it usually grows worse with age.

If you snore, you may have at least one of the following problems:

  • Poor muscle tone (lack of tightness) in the muscles of the tongue and throat
  • Excessive bulkiness of tissues of the throat
  • Problems with the size and shape of the palate
  • Obstructed nasal airways

Is snoring serious?

Since snoring disturbs sleeping patterns, a person who snores may not sleep restfully. Furthermore, heavy snorers tend to develop high blood pressure at a younger age than non-snorers.

Obstructive sleep apnea is an exaggerated form of snoring. Loud snoring is interrupted by frequent periods of totally obstructed breathing. This is serious if the episodes last more than 10 seconds each and occur more than seven times in an hour.

Apnea (obstructed breathing) sufferers may experience 50 to 500 episodes per night, and many spend as much as half their sleep time with blood oxygen levels below normal. During the obstructive episodes, the heart muscle may not receive sufficient oxygen, resulting in irregular heartbeats that may be life threatening.

Since snorers with severe sleep apnea are often unaware of it, a laboratory sleep study may be the only way to discover the condition.

Snoring and sleep apnea can be more than a bother to your sleep partner. Dr. Steven Coutras, a WVU Medicine otolaryngologist, discusses the unexpected health effects that can come about with untreated sleep apnea.

Can snoring be cured?

Snoring means obstructed breathing, and obstruction can be serious. A child who snores should be thoroughly examined by a physician. Medical evidence suggests that a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy will probably make an important difference in the health and well-being of the child.

If you snore, you should be examined to find out if you have a serious problem. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis, and it may be as simple as managing nasal allergies or infection. In other cases, surgery may be required to correct a nasal deformity or to remove large tonsils or an enlarged uvula.

Dr. Coutras provides comprehensive surgical care for patients with obstructive sleep apnea or snoring, specifically those who have not had successful medical treatment or are interested in exploring other treatment options.

Our multi-disciplinary team of surgical and sleep providers collaborate to develop individualized treatment plans for patients with sleep apnea or snoring problems, which may include:

  • A comprehensive history and physical examination including an airway evaluation
  • Nasal surgeries – septoplasty, nasal turbine reduction, nasal valve reconstruction, or nasal tumor or polyp removal
  • Palatal surgeries- uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), tonsillectomy, palate radiofrequency, palatal implementation
  • Base of tongue surgeries – lingual tonsillectomy, partial midline glossectomy, radiofrequency to the base of the tongue, genioglossal advancement, hyoid myotomy and suspension, tongue suspension suture
  • Other surgical procedures – maxillomandibular advancement, tracheostomy, limited uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, custom oral appliances

Through our ongoing clinical research, our team continually collaborates to refine and improve surgical treatment of OSA.

Swallowing Difficulty (Dysphagia)

Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) for adults is primarily the result of mechanical, muscle, or nerve disorders. Mechanical disorders are most often associated with surgery for cancer. Muscle and nerve disorders may include:

  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Head injury

Dysphagia also occurs in children and infants.

Infections and swelling of the adenoids and tonsils are common in children, and adults occasionally have problems as well. A doctor’s examination is usually needed to find out if there is a bacterial infection.

Enlarged tonsils and adenoids can cause problems even if they don’t get infected. Sometimes tonsils and adenoids are so large that children have problems breathing or, less commonly, eating.

Signs that adenoid and tonsil enlargement is causing problems include:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Excessive snoring
  • Struggling to breathe or gasping to breathe, especially while sleeping

Surgery is the only effective treatment for enlarged tonsils and adenoids that are causing problems.

Viral upper respiratory tract infections (URIs), better known as the common cold, affect most people occasionally. Adults tend to get two to four colds a year, and children can get eight to 10 colds per year. While the symptoms make you feel bad, the infections are not serious and normally end within a few days.

Bacterial URIs (either sinusitis or bronchitis) can also develop. It can be difficult, even for doctors, to tell the difference between a viral and bacterial URI.

Many factors, including the duration and severity of symptoms and any underlying respiratory problems, need to be considered before antibiotics are prescribed. A viral infection can also weaken a person’s defenses, setting the stage for a secondary bacterial infection. Antibiotics provide relief for a bacterial infection, whereas viral URIs do not respond to antibiotics.