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When Do We Recommend Combining Ear Tube Placement and Adenoid Removal?

If you’re trying to determine the best solution for your child’s chronic ear infections, having your ENT perform an adenoidectomy and ear tube placement simultaneously could be your best bet.

Although the thought of any extra surgery may make you nervous, we’ll explain when and why it’s a good idea to combine the procedures for ear tubes and adenoid removal.

Why Combine Ear Tube Placement and Adenoid Removal?

Before we talk about why we combine these two surgeries, we’ll quickly explain what each one is and why we typically do it:

  • Ear tube placement is a simple procedure in which we make a small incision in each eardrum to drain built-up fluid. We then insert tiny tubes into the incisions, which allow continued drainage for six to 12 months and reduce the likelihood of infections. This procedure is ideal for kids with chronic or recurrent ear infections.
  • An adenoidectomy is a procedure in which we remove the adenoids, which are smaller clusters of lymph tissue behind the nose and roof of the mouth. Because of their position, swollen adenoids block the openings of the sinuses and/or eustachian tubes, leading to sinus and ear infections. When kids have swollen adenoids, chronic sinus infections, or eustachian tube dysfunction symptoms, we often recommend this procedure.

Now back to the original question: Why combine the two?

Several studies show that children who get their adenoids removed are less likely to experience new fluid buildup behind their eardrums after their tubes come out.

In short, opting for both ear tubes and adenoid removal reduces the likelihood of further ear infections and consequences like ear pain or hearing loss.

When Do We Recommend Getting Ear Tubes and Adenoid Removal at the Same Time?

We might recommend that your child get an adenoidectomy with an ear tube placement if:

  • They’re getting ear tubes over the age of three or four.
  • They’re on their second set of ear tubes.
  • They have a lot of nasal congestion.
Infographic: When Do We Recommend Combining Ear Tube Placement and Adenoid Removal?

What to Expect During Ear Tube Placement and Adenoid Removal

We only perform adenoidectomies in the operating room under general anesthesia, so your child will be asleep for the entirety of both procedures.

The ear tube placement is extremely quick. First, we make a small incision in the front lower portion of one eardrum and suction out any infected fluid before slipping a small tube into the incision. We then repeat the same process in the other ear, and it’s finished!

The adenoidectomy is also fairly quick, taking only about 10 minutes. We access the adenoids through the mouth, carefully removing them from behind the palate using suctioning instruments or cautery.

What to Expect During Recovery

Ear tube placement recovery is not painful and doesn’t involve any changes to the normal routine. Recovery from an adenoidectomy may sound worrisome, but it doesn’t actually cause much pain. In fact, it’s only about one-tenth as uncomfortable as recovery from a tonsillectomy, and prescription pain medication is usually unnecessary. However, your child may be disoriented or grumpy as the anesthesia wears off.

Children typically feel normal after a few days, with minimal symptoms outside of some short-term nasal congestion and bad breath.


Though having two procedures at once, especially for a child, can sound alarming, ear tubes and adenoid removal are thankfully very simple surgeries with long track records of safety and success. We hope the information above helps you rest easy if your ENT recommends combining these two quick procedures!

3 Types of Nose Cautery for Epistaxis Explained

If you (or your child) have ever experienced a nosebleed, you know they’re no fun — and can even be frightening.

About 60% of people have experienced a nosebleed (also called epistaxis), but only 10% of those are severe enough to warrant medical intervention, such as cauterization.

It may sound surprising to think of having your nose cauterized. But nose cautery can be an excellent solution and may prevent recurrent nosebleeds.

If you’re looking for relief from frequent or severe nosebleeds, here are three ways an ENT might use nose cautery to treat them.

What Are the Different Types of Nosebleeds?

There are two types of nosebleeds:

  • Anterior nosebleeds are located towards the front of the nose. These are more common, and we usually treat them in-office with silver nitrate, a chemical that doctors have used for hundreds of years. Silver nitrate binds to the tissues inside your nose, effectively cauterizing the blood vessels to stop blood flow and, therefore, the nosebleed. There may be a little bleeding following the procedure, but nothing to worry about. In some cases, additional treatment may be necessary in the future.
  • Posterior nosebleeds are located farther back in the nasal passage, near the throat. These are far less common, making up perhaps five to 10% of cases, but they are more severe, sometimes even life-threatening. Doctors typically treat this type of nosebleed in an emergency room with a balloon catheter, which must remain in the nose for two to three days.

But suppose the balloon catheter doesn’t stop a posterior nosebleed. What then?

In that case, doctors may need to employ a more complex procedure called embolization, which involves entering your blood vessel network through your groin and blocking off the vessels that feed the back of your nose.

Another possible way to have your nose cauterized is with bipolar electrocautery. This minimally invasive in-office procedure uses an electric current to cauterize the inside of your nose, sealing the blood vessels and building scar tissue to prevent more bleeding. It sounds scary, but don’t worry! We numb the inside of your nose first, so you don’t feel a thing.

How to Care for Your Nose After Cauterization

Caring for your nose after having it cauterized is relatively easy. All you have to do is apply a nasal saline spray or gel to the affected area and moisturize your nostrils with Vaseline as needed.

Infographic: 3 Types of Nose Cautery for Epistaxis Explained

Tips for Preventing Nosebleeds

To prevent nosebleeds in the first place, try implementing these helpful tips:

  • Moisturize your nostrils with an ointment like Vaseline, Bacitracin, or Bactroban. Use it twice daily to prevent dryness and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Use an over-the-counter nasal saline spray every four to six hours to moisten your nose.
  • Add moisture to the air by using a humidifier when you sleep.
  • Avoid unnecessary trauma to your nose by not rubbing or picking excessively. Keep your fingernails trimmed to avoid accidentally cutting the inside of your nose.
  • Keep your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure may increase your risk of severe nosebleeds. One study found that people with high blood pressure are 2.7 times more likely to require emergency care for nosebleeds than those with healthy blood pressure.
  • Avoid overuse of anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin and excessive consumption of fish oils. Too much can cause nosebleeds.
  • Only use blood thinners as your primary care physician or cardiologist has prescribed. If you take blood thinners, you may have worse nosebleeds than those who don’t.

How to Treat a Nosebleed at Home

If you get a nosebleed, you don’t necessarily need to drop everything and run to the doctor’s office to have your nose cauterized. Most often, you can treat nosebleeds at home.

Try these steps before getting medical care from a professional:

  • Extend your head and lean forward (not back, like you see on TV).
  • Use Afrin (oxymetazoline) or phenylephrine nasal sprays to help slow the nosebleed. Spray the medication directly into your nose, or moisten a cotton ball and insert it into the nostril that’s bleeding.
  • Use your fingers or a nasal clamp to apply pressure to the soft part of your nose right above your nostrils. Hold the pressure for five minutes. Although it’s tempting, don’t let go to see if the bleeding has stopped.
  • If the bleeding continues after five minutes, spray more Afrin into your nose and apply pressure again for 10 more minutes.
  • If the bleeding continues, it’s time to head to the ER for treatment, where you may need to have your nose cauterized.

Superficial vs. Total Parotidectomy: What to Expect

If you’ve discovered an abnormal mass in your parotid gland, your ENT may have recommended a superficial or total parotidectomy.

We’re aware that the mere mention of surgery can be distressing, but knowing what to expect can help. Below, we’ll walk through both types of procedures in detail, explaining what they are, why they’re necessary, and what you can expect during and after the surgeries.

What Is a Parotidectomy, and When Is It Necessary?

A parotidectomy is the partial or total surgical removal of the parotid gland, which sits just in front of the ear and extends down into the upper neck. The parotid gland is the largest of your major salivary glands, which produce saliva to lubricate your mouth and help with the breakdown of food.

Most of the time, ENTs recommend a parotidectomy when a patient develops a tumor in their parotid gland. About 80% of parotid tumors are benign (noncancerous), and 20% are malignant (cancerous).

Of the many kinds of benign parotid tumors, the most common is called a pleomorphic adenoma. This is an unusual type of benign tumor because, if left untreated, it can become cancerous over time. If that happens, doctors rename it a carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma.

Superficial Parotidectomy vs. Total Parotidectomy

There are two types of parotidectomies: a superficial parotidectomy and a total parotidectomy.

To understand the difference between the two, it’s helpful to know a bit about the anatomy of the parotid gland.

Infographic: Superficial vs. Total Parotidectomy: What to Expect

Parotidectomies are one of the most challenging procedures ENTs perform because the facial nerve runs through the parotid gland. The facial nerve controls facial movements and expressions, so it’s very important.

About 15% of the parotid gland sits below (deeper than) the facial nerve, and 85% rests on top of (superficial to) it. The type of parotidectomy you’ll need depends on where in the parotid gland your tumor is located.

  • A superficial parotidectomy removes only the top portion of the parotid gland, leaving the lower part below the facial nerve intact. Most tumors are in the top portion of the gland, so this procedure is more common.
  • A total parotidectomy removes the entire parotid gland because the tumor is in the deep section or throughout the entire gland.

What to Expect During Surgery

Whether you’re having a superficial or total parotidectomy, you’ll be in a surgical center under general anesthesia.

After making an incision, we’ll carefully separate the gland from the facial nerve and its branches in order to remove the affected portion. A superficial parotidectomy involves only the top, most accessible part of the gland. A total thyroidectomy means delicately accessing and removing the portion beneath the facial nerve as well.

Once we’ve removed the affected areas of the gland, we insert a temporary drain to prevent fluid from building up in the now-empty area. We close the incision with stitches and wrap your head with bandages. You’ll come into the office the next day to have the drain removed.

Infographic: Superficial vs. Total Parotidectomy: What to Expect

What to Expect During Recovery

The recovery from either a total or superficial parotidectomy takes about a week. Because this is a more involved surgery, you may experience some lingering issues:

Facial Weakness or Paralysis

Since we’re operating so close to the facial nerve and its branches, facial weakness or paralysis is the most significant risk of a parotidectomy.

Your facial nerve has five main branches and numerous tiny offshoots spreading across your face in an intricate pattern. Each branch controls a specific area of motion or expression. If one of these branches experiences trauma during the surgery, it could temporarily or permanently lose its ability to function.

For example, after the surgery, you could experience some weakness around your eye, nose, or lower lip. The lower lip, in particular, is especially vulnerable because it has fewer nerve connections than other areas.

The most common side effect following a parotidectomy is temporary weakness in one or more facial areas, affecting as many as 20% of patients. Usually, these issues resolve on their own within six to 12 months of surgery. However, a much lower percentage of patients experience permanent weakness or paralysis.

We work as carefully as possible around your nerve network, aiming for minimal disturbance while still successfully removing the tumor. Patients needing a total parotidectomy have an increased risk of nerve damage since the surgeon must work beneath the facial nerve.

Minor Cosmetic Changes

After we remove the parotid gland, an empty space can be left behind and cause a slight depression in front of your ear. And, though the incisions from parotidectomies usually heal nicely, you may still have a visible scar in front of your ear and on your neck.

Ear Numbness

One specific nerve — the greater auricular nerve — passes through the parotid gland, which means we have to remove it in order to get the gland out. This nerve is responsible for sensation in the lower two-thirds of the ear, so patients who get a total or superficial parotidectomy experience permanent numbness in that portion of their ear. Fortunately, the loss of feeling doesn’t impact function, and most people report that they simply get used to the numbness.

Fluid Buildup

After a superficial parotidectomy, patients sometimes experience a cyst-like accumulation of salivary fluid in the area, also called a sialocele. Other times, fluid from surrounding tissues can accumulate in the space where the parotid gland used to be, creating what’s called a seroma.

We can resolve this issue by drawing the fluid out with a syringe, repeatedly if necessary. In some cases, we may make a small incision and drain the pocket of fluid that way.

Sweating After Eating (Post-Gustatory Sweating)

We know this sounds strange, so it’s good to be aware of it beforehand!

Have you ever experienced that tingling sensation in your jaw or in front of your ears after tasting something really sour, like a lemon? That’s your nerve fibers triggering your parotid gland to secrete saliva.

After we remove the gland, those nerve fibers don’t simply retire; they look for a new job. By connecting to the nearby sweat glands in your skin, the nerve fibers continue to operate when you eat — except instead of stimulating saliva production, they now stimulate a little sweat in front of your ear.

Although strange, this side effect is the least concerning of all the possible risks, and it can happen even several years after your total or superficial parotidectomy.

Coping With Preoperative Anxiety

It’s completely normal to feel nervous about having a parotidectomy, and you’re not alone if you feel anxious about what could happen during or after the procedure. However, it’s important not to let anxiety get in the way of an important — and potentially life-saving — procedure.

When a parotid tumor is cancerous, it’s often aggressive, and we need to address it as soon as possible. Even benign tumors can interfere with other facial structures and functions or become cancerous over time.

We only recommend a superficial or total parotidectomy when it’s necessary for your health and safety, and when the risks of surgery outweigh the risks of not having surgery.

Unfortunately, no one can guarantee a side-effect-free parotidectomy. However, we take many precautions to reduce your risk, including having experienced surgeons who have years of experience performing parotidectomies. Plus, addressing parotid tumors sooner rather than later can reduce the risk that they’ll grow, spread, and put more nerves at risk.

If you require a parotidectomy, we want you to know you’re in good hands. Our staff will support you throughout the process, and we’ll provide you with all the information you need to thoroughly understand your diagnosis and treatment.

Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture: In Office or Outpatient?

If you have a broken nose (also called a nasal fracture), you probably want it fixed quickly. An injury like this can make breathing difficult, keep you from going about your normal routine, and even affect your appearance in the long term, especially if it sets in a fractured position before an ENT has the chance to repair it.

In cases of simple displacement, we repair the nose by performing a closed reduction of the nasal fracture. Below, we’ll look at this procedure in more detail to help you know what options you have and what to expect.

What Is a Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture?

A closed reduction of a nasal fracture is a medical procedure for repairing a broken nose. It’s called a “closed reduction” because it doesn’t require any incisions. Instead, an ENT works inside the nose to carefully move the displaced nasal bone back into its normal position.

Although a closed reduction of a nasal fracture is relatively simple, doctors have traditionally performed it under general anesthesia. However, in many cases, you can also undergo the procedure safely and comfortably in the office with mild sedation and topical anesthesia.

At ENT Associates of Lubbock, we prefer to do the latter when possible. We’ve found that the in-office procedure is just as tolerable for patients but also comes with some distinct advantages:

  • No general anesthesia. This makes the procedure even safer and less time-consuming.
  • Scheduling is simple. You can sometimes be treated on the same day.
  • Lower cost. In-office procedures are dramatically less expensive.

Of course, some cases don’t lend themselves to an in-office procedure. For example, we may recommend outpatient surgery with general anesthesia if:

  • Your fracture is an older injury
  • Your septum is also deviated
  • You have a septal hematoma (blood clot)
  • You have other ongoing medical issues
  • You’re under 15 years old
Infographic: Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture: In Office or Outpatient?

How Soon Should You Have a Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture?

Typically, we prefer seeing patients about four to seven days after their initial injury. This allows some time for the swelling to go down so we can more accurately assess the injury and determine how severe the fracture is.

We can sometimes complete the in-office procedure on the same day. If not, we’ll ask you to return seven to 10 days after the date of injury. Otherwise, the bone could begin to set in its abnormal position, creating further problems.

The in-office procedure makes keeping this timeline easy since you won’t have to schedule with an outpatient surgery center. But whether you end up having the in-office or outpatient procedure, our goal is always the same: to give your nose the best chance of healing properly and returning to normal.

In-Office vs. Outpatient Surgery: What to Expect

Whether you move forward with an in-office or outpatient closed reduction of a nasal fracture, the procedure is the same.

Afterward, you’ll wear a small splint and cast on your nose for about four days until we see you for your follow-up visit.

We may prescribe pain medication to help keep you comfortable while you recover, and your nasal breathing should improve within three to four days after surgery.

Although you can return to normal activities shortly after the procedure, you should continue protecting your nose during sports or other physical activity for several weeks.

Unfortunately, even after a successful closed reduction of a nasal fracture, there’s still the possibility that your nose will look slightly different than it did before. Just like with any other broken bone, the best course of action is to set the fracture in a timely manner to give it the best chance of looking as close to normal as possible.

However, if your nose heals with an altered appearance, an additional procedure called a rhinoplasty may help. A rhinoplasty is a more involved cosmetic surgery that corrects nasal defects to improve the outward appearance of your nose.

Closed Reduction of a Nasal Fracture: Final Thoughts

A broken nose is a severe injury that can affect your quality of life and confidence, so we know how important it is to get the proper treatment quickly.

If you have any other questions about a closed reduction of a nasal fracture, please let us know! We’re here to help.

What to Expect Before and After Submandibular Gland Excision

Saliva probably isn’t something you think about too often, but your salivary glands work hard every day to ensure you have enough of it. One of these hard-working glands is called the submandibular gland.

Unfortunately, things can sometimes go awry with this gland’s production and delivery of saliva. Treating these issues often involves a submandibular gland excision, meaning we remove the affected gland.

Below, we go into greater detail to help you understand the procedure, its effects, and what to expect before and after surgery.

What Does the Submandibular Gland Do?

The submandibular gland is a salivary gland under your jaw. Its job is to produce saliva, which then empties into your mouth through small openings underneath your tongue called ducts.

If you’ve ever heard of “gleeking,” then you’re probably familiar with how this works. When people gleek, saliva shoots out of their mouths, usually while talking, yawning, or eating. That spit comes from the submandibular gland via the ducts beneath the tongue.

Generally, this bodily system works like a well-oiled machine. However, people can sometimes develop issues that inhibit this natural process, such as:

  • Salivary stones, which can obstruct the duct and prevent the normal flow of saliva into your mouth, causing swelling in the jaw area.
  • Growth or tumor on the gland, either benign or cancerous.
  • Sialocele, or salivary mucocele, which involves the accumulation of saliva or mucus that isn’t draining properly. As a result, the gland can bulge and cause uncomfortable swelling in the neck.
Infographic: What to Expect Before and After Submandibular Gland Excision

What Is Submandibular Gland Excision Surgery?

A submandibular gland excision is a surgical procedure in which we remove the affected submandibular gland entirely. We take this step after careful consideration and testing to identify the source of the problem.

Losing a salivary gland may sound alarming. Don’t you need all that saliva production?

No need to worry. Even with the loss of a submandibular gland, you’re not signing up for a lifetime of dry mouth. You have plenty of other salivary glands that are more than capable of keeping your mouth hydrated.

How to Prepare for Submandibular Gland Excision Surgery

A submandibular gland excision involves very little prep work on your end:

  • If you have a beard, shave it a few days before the surgery so we can easily access the incision site. (However, please do not shave the day before surgery, which could lead to infections.)
  • Shower with antibacterial soap the night before the procedure.
  • Avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before your surgery. This makes general anesthesia much safer.

Also, watch for communication from our office shortly after your procedure is scheduled to provide general details and estimated costs, and then again a day or two before your procedure to discuss specific details and the time of your upcoming surgery.

What Happens During a Submandibular Gland Excision?

During the surgery, we make a two-inch incision underneath your jawbone. Then, we dissect the area around the submandibular gland, carefully ligating the facial artery to access it.

As we navigate around the gland, we’re cautious not to damage the nearby nerves, including the hypoglossal and lingual nerves, which affect tongue movement and sensations. We also take special precautions to protect the marginal mandibular nerve, which runs along your jaw and affects your ability to move the corners of your mouth.

Once we identify and separate the surrounding structures from the gland, we carefully remove it. We then use dissolvable sutures to close the wound and apply Steri-Strip bandages to secure it. Depending on the gland’s size and state, we may also insert a drain to prevent fluid accumulation in the area. 

What Does Recovery Look Like?

If you received a drain, you’ll come to the clinic the day after surgery so we can remove it. Otherwise, you’ll have a follow-up visit in one week to remove the Steri-Strips and ensure the incision site is healing well.

You can shower 24 hours after the procedure, but avoid high water pressure directly on the incision site. You should wash gently with soap and water and pat the area dry afterward. We ask you not to submerge the wound in water, such as in a bathtub or pool, until the site is fully healed.

You can follow a regular diet immediately after surgery. However, avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for about a week.

What Are the Risks of Submandibular Gland Excision?

One risk associated with a submandibular gland excision is a potential fluid buildup under the surface of the skin at the incision site. Your body usually absorbs this fluid over time, but we can also drain the fluid with a small needle if there’s a significant amount.

A more significant risk of this procedure is the potential for damage to nerves near the gland. Sometimes, the nerves experience some trauma simply from being pulled during the procedure, and they just need a little time to recover. If a nerve is divided during surgery, however, it will have a harder time recovering, though that risk is reduced with an experienced ENT.


If you need a submandibular gland excision, finding a highly experienced ENT is one of the best steps you can take to reduce the risks. And remember — your other salivary glands will still be there doing their job!

Can You Really Use Botox for Teeth Grinding?

Botox’s popularity came about in large part due to its reputation as a highly effective treatment for wrinkles. And while it’s certainly effective against these signs of aging, Botox has several uses beyond the cosmetic as well.

Botox has been around for over 30 years and has several medical applications that haven’t gotten as much publicity as its cosmetic uses.

For example, physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) doctors use Botox to calm muscle spasms in patients with cerebral palsy. The FDA also approved Botox as a treatment neurologists can use to fight headaches. And it can even help relieve teeth grinding associated with temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).

Yes, you read that right. If teeth grinding is an issue for you, Botox might be the solution.

If you’re investigating Botox for teeth grinding, here’s what you should know about how it works, side effects, and what you can expect after treatment.

How Can Botox Stop Teeth Grinding?

Botox is a highly effective treatment for teeth grinding associated with TMJ, a condition of dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles.

People with TMJ often clench their jaw all night while they sleep. Usually, their jaw and cheeks are sore when they wake up, but they’re unaware that they’ve been grinding their teeth.

Getting Botox for teeth grinding works because it prevents the jaw from clenching so hard. It weakens the masseter muscles (the large, strong muscles in your cheeks responsible for clenching and chewing activity) without completely paralyzing them.

When weakened, the masseter muscles can’t apply as much pressure on the temporomandibular joint. So, even if your jaw tries to clench overnight while you sleep, the muscles won’t have enough force to cause teeth grinding.

Does Botox Help With Other Teeth Grinding Symptoms, Like Migraines and Jaw Pain?

If you’re grinding your teeth at night, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with related symptoms, like:

  • Migraines
  • Jaw and face pain
  • Headaches 
  • Toothaches
  • Ear pain 

By treating the source of these issues, you’ll likely get significant relief. 

In fact, some of our patients who suffered from daily facial pain and headaches have reported going months without any pain at all after Botox treatment.

Infographic: Can You Really Use Botox for Teeth Grinding?

What Are the Side Effects or Risks of Botox for Teeth Grinding?

If you get Botox from a qualified doctor, you’re unlikely to experience any major side effects that negatively impact your everyday life. The main potential side effects of getting Botox for teeth grinding are:

  • Minor bruising: You might develop a small, temporary bruise after a Botox treatment.
  • A slight bulge: Though we’ve never seen this particular side effect in our practice, it’s possible for some people to experience a little bulging in the masseter muscles. This happens when some muscle fibers are less affected (paralyzed) than others, causing them to protrude. It’s a purely cosmetic issue, and easy to remedy with a little additional Botox to the area.
  • Muscle fatigue: If you eat a heavy meal that requires a lot of chewing (think: a giant steak), your jaw might feel more tired than usual.

What Else Is There to Know About Botox for Teeth Grinding?

Still on the fence about getting Botox for teeth grinding? These factors might help you decide:

  • You can get it immediately after your initial consultation with the doctor. If you decide to proceed with a Botox treatment, we can do it in the same visit as your consultation. It’s a quick procedure, done in one minute or less, with each injection taking about one second to complete.
  • It’s painless. If you’re afraid of needles, the idea of getting Botox might be nerve-racking. It may help to know that we use the smallest needles on the market to deliver Botox, resulting in little to no pain. Most people hardly feel anything at all!
  • You can return to your normal activities right away. With Botox, there are very few post-treatment limitations. You can return to work, hit the gym for a light workout, or even grab a drink with friends if you’d like. The choice is yours!

If you live in West Texas and would like to consult an experienced medical professional about Botox for teeth grinding or TMJ, contact our office. Our patients have seen excellent results with this treatment, and we want others in our community who are suffering to experience relief!

Excision Biopsy of a Lymph Node: Everything You Need to Know 

If you’ve had an enlarged lymph node for some time and it’s not responding to antibiotics or steroids, it may be time to investigate the issue further. In this case, we might recommend something called an excision biopsy of the lymph node

It’s normal to feel anxious about any surgical procedure, including a biopsy. To help ease your nerves, we’re sharing everything you need to know about a lymph node excision biopsy below.

What Is an Excision Biopsy of a Lymph Node?

Before we get into the specifics, it’s helpful to know the different types of biopsies:

  • An excisional biopsy is when we remove the entire specimen for testing.
  • An incisional biopsy is when we remove a small portion of the specimen for testing.
  • A fine needle aspiration (FNA) is when a specialist, called an interventional radiologist, inserts a needle to remove specimen cells for examination, often called a needle biopsy.

In the case of lymph nodes, incisional biopsies are rare unless a very large mass is present. Sometimes, an FNA can give us enough information to make an accurate diagnosis. Far more often, though, an excision biopsy of the lymph node is the procedure that provides us with the data we need for a definitive diagnosis.

To identify certain illnesses, such as lymphoma, certain other cancers, or a low-grade tuberculosis infection, we need to examine more than just a few cells; we need to see the entire lymph node. An excision biopsy gives us that ability, which leads to a more accurate diagnosis and better treatment for the patient.

Infographic: Excision Biopsy of a Lymph Node: Everything You Need to Know

What to Expect From an Excision Biopsy of Your Lymph Node

How to Prepare

An excisional biopsy isn’t a complex procedure, and you don’t have to do much prep work. You can make sure you’re ready for the operation by following these basic tips:

  • Keep in communication with our office. At the time your surgery is scheduled or shortly thereafter, you will be given some instructions from our office staff about the procedure details and estimated cost. A day or two before your surgery, you will receive a phone call from our office AND a phone call from the surgery center. Please make sure to answer BOTH phone calls as this will provide important information about your procedure.
  • Remember to fast before your surgery. Avoid drinking or eating anything after midnight the day before your surgery. This makes general anesthesia much safer.
  • If you have a large beard, please shave it. We’ll need unobstructed access to your neck for the biopsy, so plan to shave two to three days before your surgery. (Important note: Please do not shave the day before your surgery. Shaving can create microscopic cuts in your skin that allow bacteria in, which could lead to infection.)
  • Shower with antibacterial soap. Cleaning your body with antibacterial soap will reduce the number of germs on your skin and lower your risk of infection after surgery.
  • Arrive on time. We always prefer that our patients arrive on time or a little early for their scheduled surgery. Arriving stressed and in a hurry only adds to any pre-surgery anxiety!

During the Procedure

When you arrive at the surgery center on the day of the procedure, the medical team will guide you to the pre-operative area, take your vitals, and prepare you for the operation.

We perform excision biopsies of the lymph node under general anesthesia, and it’s a very straightforward procedure:

  1. We make a small incision in the neck over the target lymph node. 
  2. We dissect the tissue around and adjacent to the lymph node so we can remove it entirely, being very careful not to damage any surrounding nerves.
  3. Once the lymph node is out, we close the incision in layers, using plastic surgery techniques to ensure it heals nicely. We use absorbable sutures, so they dissolve on their own without you needing to return to the office to remove them.
  4. If the lymph node or the space left behind is very large, we leave a small rubber drain in the area to prevent fluid from collecting there.
  5. We apply Steri-Strips bandages over the incision site to keep it tightly closed.
  6. After the surgery, we send the specimen to a pathologist, who examines and tests it for signs of disease.

The surgery usually takes about 30–60 minutes, depending on the location and size of the lymph node. Once the procedure is over and you’ve woken from anesthesia, you can head home the same day.


Recovery from an excision biopsy of the lymph node does not usually involve much pain, though we still prescribe pain medication for after the procedure in case you need it. Most people only experience some soreness around the surgery site. Depending on the person, ice packs may be enough to help with the discomfort.

Some people report a mild sore throat after being intubated for general anesthesia, which resolves within a few days.

If you had a drain placed in the surgery site, we’ll ask you to come back to the clinic the day after surgery so we can remove it. Otherwise, we’ll schedule a follow-up visit for a week or so after surgery, during which we’ll remove the Steri-Strips and check the incision to ensure it’s healing well.

You can shower 24 hours after surgery, and it’s okay to get the incision site wet while you’re in there. Avoid strong water pressure pointing directly onto the incision site and gently wash with soap and water. You can pat it dry with a towel afterward. You will want to avoid completely submerging the incision underwater, like in the bathtub or swimming pool, until after you are completely healed.

We also recommend taking it easy for a week. Light activity is fine, but avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting so you don’t accidentally rupture a blood vessel we tied off during surgery.

Feel free to eat whatever you’d like after your surgery, as long as it’s comfortable for you. There’s no need to follow any specific diet while recovering from an excision biopsy of a lymph node, but keep in mind you may have a sore throat for a day or two afterwards.

Final Thoughts on Excision Biopsies of Lymph Nodes

It’s never fun to be told you need surgery, but if you have a suspicious lymph node, an excision biopsy can give you some extremely important information. If it reveals an illness, it also reveals the way to treat that illness so you can get back to living your life — without a swollen or painful lymph node getting in the way.

Does Botox Work for Forehead Wrinkles and Should You Get It?

You’ve tried everything.

Every anti-aging serum you can get your hands on promises to erase those pesky forehead wrinkles, but they never deliver. Are you stuck with them forever?

Though forehead wrinkles are a normal sign of aging, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about them. 

Using Botox for forehead wrinkles is a clinically proven and safe solution. In fact, it’s one of the only treatments with virtually guaranteed results.

Chances are, you’ve already heard of Botox, but we’ll explain why it’s the perfect treatment for forehead wrinkles in particular.

Does Botox Help Smooth Forehead Wrinkles? 

Yes! Botox is intended to treat static wrinkles like those on your forehead, so using Botox for forehead wrinkles is extremely effective. But to help you understand why, we need to delve into the science behind how it works.

Wrinkles form as your skin repeatedly folds and creases due to the contraction of underlying muscles. Over time, these folds and creases deepen and become more permanent.

Think about what happens when you fold a piece of paper. Even after unfolding the paper and flattening it out, you can still see a crease where the fold was. Wrinkles work the same way.

Unlike creams and lotions that target the skin itself, Botox addresses the root cause of wrinkles: the muscles beneath the skin. 

Botox is a temporary paralytic agent that weakens and reduces the movement of muscles. Once injected, it binds to the nerves in a muscle, preventing them from releasing the neurotransmitters that tell the muscle to move.

The result is a relaxed muscle that can’t tense up — and smoother-looking skin on the surface.

How Long Do the Effects Last?

If you get Botox for forehead wrinkles, you can expect the effects to last about three to four months. 

As your body metabolizes Botox, it wears off the nerve endings. The nerves can send out their neurotransmitters again, and your muscles regain their movement. As this happens, the skin above your muscles will start to crease again.

Contrary to popular belief, once Botox takes effect, you can’t impact how long the treatment lasts with things like exercise, moving your muscles, massaging your muscles, or applying creams to the treated areas. The only factor that affects the duration is how quickly your body metabolizes the Botox.

Infographic: Does Botox Work for Forehead Wrinkles and Should You Get It?

Risks and Side Effects of Botox for Forehead Wrinkles

There are very few risks to getting Botox injections, but they include:

  • Slight bruising in the treated area
  • A low-hanging brow, or brow ptosis (minimal risk if Botox is applied correctly)

Additional Details About Botox for Forehead Wrinkles

  • Botox works for very deep wrinkles. If you think your forehead wrinkles are too far gone, think again! Although you may need a stronger dose or a longer duration of treatment to get the desired results, Botox will still smooth out deep wrinkles. You may need a little extra patience, but you’ll see results.
  • Botox can prevent new forehead wrinkles. Rather than treating wrinkles after they appear, more and more people are opting to get Botox at a younger age to avoid forehead wrinkles in the first place. If you take this route, you won’t have to get injections as often, and you can enjoy a wrinkle-free forehead as you age.
  • Botox is extremely low risk. We’ve all heard horror stories that might make us wary, but Botox is a tried and true treatment for wrinkles, and the results are nothing like what you see in the movies. As long as you see a qualified Botox doctor, your face won’t end up droopy, frozen, or dramatically changed. You’ll simply look like a more youthful version of yourself.

If you live in the West Texas area and are interested in Botox for forehead wrinkles or other applications, get in touch! We’ll be happy to set up a consultation.

How Effective Is an Eyebrow Lift With Botox?

As we get older, it’s normal to see more visible signs of aging. For instance, you might develop fine lines and wrinkles on your forehead and around your eyes, or your brow may appear to droop a little more than it used to.

Unfortunately, when your brow sags, it can make you look older, tired, or even give you a perpetually angry look, which probably isn’t the vibe you’re after. 

In the world of cosmetic surgery, a brow lift is a procedure that lifts your brow to reduce these signs of aging and make you appear more youthful and well-rested. In America, doctors perform 88,000 brow lift surgeries annually, with 90% of recipients being women.

Fortunately, this rather invasive surgical procedure is no longer the only option if you want to improve the appearance or your brow. To avoid the surgery, recovery time, and scarring, but still enjoy the benefits, consider getting an eyebrow lift with Botox instead.

What Is a Botox Eyebrow Lift and How Does It Work?

A Botox eyebrow lift involves injecting small amounts of a neurotoxin into specific facial muscles to temporarily relax them, reducing their ability to pull your brow downward. 

Two muscle groups affect the positioning of your brow:

  • The frontalis muscle is the broad forehead muscle that lifts the eyebrows and wrinkles the brow.
  • The orbicularis oculi is the circle of muscle surrounding the eye that pulls the brow down and closes the eyelid.

When you get an eyebrow lift with Botox, some doctors may inject Botox into the underside of your brow to inhibit the function of the orbicularis oculi and weaken its downward pull on the brow. This leaves the frontalis muscle free to lift the brow unhindered.

However, we use a slightly more strategic approach.

First, we carefully inject specific parts of the frontalis muscle with Botox, leaving certain muscle fibers untouched so they continue to function normally. This gives you the lift you’re after while reserving the orbicularis oculi below the brow as a backup injection site in case you experience any brow ptosis or drooping.

The results of your Botox eyebrow lift will last as long as the Botox remains active in your muscles, which is usually about three to four months.

How Is an Eyebrow Lift With Botox Different From Brow Lift Surgery?

Brow lift surgery is just that — surgery. It corrects features like creases or wrinkles in your forehead and sagging eyebrows to make you look more youthful.

Unlike an eyebrow lift with Botox, brow lift surgery is permanent and requires local or general anesthesia. It can proceed in a couple different ways:

  • Endoscopic lift: A cosmetic surgeon makes incisions behind your hairline and uses a scope (a thin tube with a camera and light) to view the tissues and muscles of your forehead. Using surgical tools under your skin, the surgeon sutures or anchors your brow to your scalp so it sits in a higher position.
  • Direct lift: The brow-anchoring process is much the same as in an endoscopic lift, except the surgeon makes the incision just above your eyebrow. This method is typically less desirable because it leaves a visible scar.

Brow Lift Surgery: Pros and Cons


  • Your results are permanent, which is good if you’re happy with them.


  • It’s a major, invasive surgery.
  • You may have some brow ptosis or scarring.
  • Recovery may take days or weeks.
  • Your results are permanent. If you’re unhappy with them, you may need another surgery.
How Effective Is an Eyebrow Lift With Botox Infographic

Eyebrow Lift With Botox: Pros and Cons


  • It’s non-invasive and doesn’t require surgery.
  • It only takes a few minutes.
  • You get similar lifting effects as you would with surgery.
  • If you don’t like your results, we can modify them with a few extra injections.
  • The treatment wears off, so you can try it without being stuck with it forever.


  • If you like the results, you’ll need treatment every three to four months to maintain the effects.

Skip the Surgery — Get a Thorough and Effective Brow Lift With Botox

No surgery is without risk, even cosmetic surgery. If you can avoid going under the knife, that’s generally a good thing.

Choosing to get an eyebrow lift with Botox spares you the possibility of surgical complications while still achieving the youthful appearance you’re after. If you live in West Texas and are interested in exploring Botox for an eyebrow lift, wrinkle reduction, or even TMJ treatment, don’t hesitate to contact our office to set up a consultation.

Bruising After Botox: A Doctor Describes What to Expect 

When you consider getting Botox, what holds you back?

Are you worried your face might look frozen or plasticky? Or are you afraid you’ll leave the office looking like a different person? 

Fortunately, these less-than-desirable results only come from bad Botox.

When Botox is done well, no one will even be able to tell you’ve had it. You’ll still look like you, just more youthful. Common responses from others are, “You look great! What have you been doing? Tell me your secret!”

Similarly, you might be worried about Botox causing bruising. Again, it’s not as drastic as you may think. Here’s what you need to know about bruising after Botox and what to expect.

How Common Is Bruising After Botox?

Only about 5% of our patients experience bruising after Botox. It’s rare, and when it does happen, it’s very mild and superficial. Most people can’t see the bruising after applying makeup.

Why Does Bruising Happen and How Long Does It Last?

Bruising occurs when a the Botox needle hits one of the many capillaries just under the skin during treatment. When nicked, these tiny blood vessels leak a small amount of blood below the skin’s surface, causing it to look purple or blue — in other words, causing a bruise.

Everyone heals at a different pace, but mild bruising usually dissipates within a few days.

Infographic: Bruising After Botox: A Doctor Describes What to Expect

What to Do if You Get Bruising After Botox

Several factors affect your likelihood of bruising after Botox. The following tips can help you manage your expectations and prevent bruising when possible.

Tip #1: Know that bruising is more likely in certain areas.

Some areas of your face are more likely to bruise than others, regardless of precautions. For example, the skin of your forehead is thinner than the skin of the rest of your face, so the blood vessels sit just below the surface and are easier to nick with a needle.

The forehead also has greater vascular variability than other areas. Because of this, it’s harder to predict where all the little vessels in this area will be and avoid them.

Tip #2: Limit optional over-the-counter blood-thinning medications.

Before getting Botox, avoid taking certain over-the-counter medications like Aspirin and ibuprofen and limit your alcohol consumption. Since these substances slow blood clotting, they can increase your risk of bleeding and bruising.

However, if you’re taking a prescription blood thinner for medical reasons, you should continue taking it unless your prescribing doctor says otherwise. You can still get Botox; you’re just more likely to experience bruising.

Tip #3: Find a qualified Botox doctor.

Seeing a qualified Botox doctor who has an intimate knowledge of facial anatomy immediately reduces the likelihood of adverse side effects, including bruising.

An experienced Botox doctor will know the location of the larger arteries and veins and will avoid hitting them with a needle. However, capillaries are everywhere under the skin, so even patients seeing an experienced doctor can experience bruising after Botox. The goal is to make sure any bruising is as minimal as possible.

When searching for a Botox doctor, make sure to get details about their medical experience, credentials, and the percentage of patients that return for their follow-up treatments. Also, ask about the type of results you can expect.

Talk to Your Doctor About Your Risk of Bruising After Botox

Unfortunately, some people are more prone to bruising than others. Your skin tone can also affect the visibility of any bruising that does occur. 

Regardless, an excellent Botox doctor will review all the potential risks and side effects with you before your first treatment. They can also check your individual risk factors for bruising, make suggestions, and help you achieve the best results possible.

Can You Drink After Botox, and if So, What Fluids?

In 2021, more than 3.6 million Americans received a Botox or similar treatment, making it the number one non-invasive cosmetic procedure in the U.S. As such, plenty of people have questions about what you can and can’t do after you get Botox.

For instance, can you drink after Botox, or will you have to forego that glass of wine with dinner?

The simple answer? Yes, you can drink after Botox, with a small caveat. Below, we’ll cover details so you can feel confident in your decisions after treatment.

Can You Drink Alcohol After a Botox Treatment?

Generally, drinking alcohol in moderation is okay after getting a Botox treatment. There is no direct interaction between Botox and alcohol that poses any medical risk.

That said, some people do experience a little bruising after a Botox treatment, and alcohol could potentially make that worse. As a vasodilator, alcohol relaxes and widens your blood vessels, which can increase bruising.

If you’re aware of this risk and are okay with it, you can drink alcohol after getting Botox.

Infographic: Can You Drink After Botox, and if So, What Fluids?

Is There Anything You Shouldn’t Drink After Botox?

No liquids are completely off-limits after getting Botox. In fact, it’s best to drink plenty of fluids afterward, which can be helpful if you get a mild Botox headache.

Water is always an excellent choice, but if you prefer drinks with electrolytes in them, like Gatorade or Powerade, these are great options as well. 

The only thing you might want to watch is your caffeine intake. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it makes you urinate more frequently and can be dehydrating. To keep you and you skin well hydrated, you might want to limit your consumption of overly-caffeinated beverages like Monster energy drinks or triple espressos.

Otherwise, beverages containing other ingredients — like dairy, fruit, or tea — are okay to drink after Botox.

Can You Drink After Botox? Final Thoughts

If you do a quick Google search for “Can you drink after Botox?” you’ll find plenty of results with very strict suggestions. We prefer to take a more practical and realistic approach.

Here are the points that actually matter:

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Stick to moderate caffeine intake.
  • Stick to moderate alcohol intake.

That’s it. Our advice is to continue living and enjoying your life — just don’t go overboard, especially if you want to avoid bruising and headaches.

Exercising After Botox: How to Stay Active Without Compromising Your Results

One of the best things about Botox is that there’s virtually no recovery time. Generally, you can get a quick treatment and continue with your day as if nothing even happened!

HOWEVER, there are some exceptions. If your appointment falls right before you usually hit the gym, you might be wondering, “Can you workout after Botox?” Well, yes and no.

The simplest answer is:

Very light exercise after Botox is fine, but overexerting yourself could cause bruising or an infection, so you need to be careful.

Let’s get into more detail about the exercise dos and don’ts after Botox.

Why Use Caution After Botox Treatment?

When you get Botox, you receive a series of injections with a small needle. So, going straight to the gym and working out vigorously could cause some unwanted side effects. 

Although exercise after Botox won’t damage the effects of the injections (the drug will still be fully active and effective), you could unintentionally complicate the recovery process.

For example, when you exercise, your blood pressure and heart rate increase, which could worsen bruising at the injection sites.  

Another concern is an infection, since injections create small breaks in the skin. Gyms aren’t always the cleanest of places, so if you sweat a lot and then touch your face or forehead, you could introduce bacteria to one or more injection sites.

Can You Workout After Botox?

While you can technically exercise after Botox, we don’t recommend a heavy fitness session like running a marathon or doing CrossFit immediately afterward. It’s often best to wait or do something more gentle, like yoga or a long walk.

Some people get a slight headache after treatment, so you may not even feel up to working out after Botox. If this happens, you can treat the headache with a small dose of Tylenol (not ibuprofen or other NSAIDs) and take it easy for the day. 

Some people feel uneasy with needles or medical procedures, even Botox, and may need time to recover mentally afterward. That’s completely fine. Listening to your body will help you have the best treatment and recovery experience possible.

How Long Should I Wait to Exercise After Botox?

We recommend waiting about 24 hours before exercising after Botox. After that, you can return to your regular exercise routine.

Are There Any Other Activities I Shouldn’t Do After Getting a Botox Treatment?

Infographic: Exercising After Botox: How to Stay Active Without Compromising Your Results

You can do most of your normal activities after you get Botox, but there are just a few things you should avoid for the best results:

  • Massages (especially facial massages): Massaging your face can spread Botox into other muscles, causing it to affect the wrong areas of your face. 
  • Touching or rubbing the affected area: Similar to getting a massage, rubbing the treated area could move the Botox into unwanted areas and also increase the risk of infection. Do your best to keep your hands off the injection sites for at least a few hours after treatment.
  • Putting on heavy makeup: Applying makeup directly to the Botox injection sites after treatment can cause an infection, so we recommend waiting 24 hours before putting any on. If you must wear it, gently applying a little bit of very light makeup is okay.
  • Drinking alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can widen blood vessels near the skin’s surface and increase blood flow, which may amplify your risk of bruising after Botox.
  • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Medications like aspirin or ibuprofen promote bruising, so it’s best to wait at least 24 hours after getting Botox before using these drugs.

Most other activities — like lying down after Botox and continuing your normal routine — are completely fine and won’t have any effect on your results!

Live in West Texas? Get in Touch!

If you live in the West Texas area and are interested in Botox for TMJ or cosmetic purposes, send us a message! We have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process and help you get the results you’re looking for.

Can You Get Botox When Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Research indicates 92% of people who opt for cosmetic procedures like Botox are women. Consequently, questions like, “Can you get Botox while pregnant?” or “Is it safe to get Botox while breastfeeding?” come up frequently.

Before we explore the answer further, here’s a quick response:

The effects of Botox on an unborn or breastfed baby are not currently well-researched, so no one can definitively say whether it’s safe or unsafe. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s always best to check with your OB or pediatrician before getting Botox.

That said, we’ll get into more detail below to help you decide what’s right for you and your baby. 

What Is Botox and How Does It Work?

Botox is a drug made from botulinum toxin A. As a cosmetic treatment, it helps address wrinkles and fine lines on your skin. As a medical treatment, Botox can be used for conditions like temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), which causes jaw inflammation and pain.

Although it affects the appearance of your skin, Botox doesn’t make changes to the skin itself. Instead, it temporarily weakens the muscles underneath, so they can no longer crease or wrinkle the skin they attach to so much. Once a doctor injects Botox into a particular area, the drug stays there and doesn’t spread to other parts of your body.

After you get Botox injections, your body slowly metabolizes the drug and clears it from your system. That process takes about three to four months, after which the effects wear off and your muscles can move freely again. At that time, if you want to refresh your results, your doctor might recommend another treatment.

Once you establish a routine of getting Botox regularly, the treated muscles will weaken over time, so you won’t need infections as often.

Infographic: Can You Get Botox When Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Can You Get Botox While Pregnant?

The FDA has classified Botox as a Category C drug. This means animal studies have shown possible adverse effects on the fetus, but researchers haven’t completed any studies with pregnant women. 

The main concern with getting Botox while breastfeeding or pregnant is the possibility of the drug entering the mother’s bloodstream and affecting the baby’s health or development. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough research to conclusively say that Botox is either safe or unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding women. 

Due to the possible risks, scientists likely won’t inject pregnant or lactating women with Botox, so this may never be a well-researched area.

However, if you’re still wondering if you can get Botox while pregnant, we highly recommend speaking with your doctor. They can provide personalized recommendations and weigh the risks against your current condition, medical history, and your baby’s health.

Can You Get Botox While Breastfeeding?

Similarly, scientists aren’t 100% sure whether it’s safe to get Botox while breastfeeding because there isn’t enough human research out there.

That said, more than likely, getting Botox while breastfeeding won’t harm your baby. According to a publication in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), botulinum toxin A is unlikely to transfer to your breast milk after you receive injections.

The basis is a study which documents a lactating woman suffering from botulinum poisoning. Though she breastfed her child throughout her ordeal, researchers found no detectable toxin in her breast milk or in her baby’s blood or stool. Since the typical cosmetic dosage of botulinum toxin A is much lower than the levels that cause botulism poisoning, the NLM publication suggests it’s unlikely a lower dose of the drug would cause adverse effects in breastfeeding infants.

Regardless, we still highly recommend speaking with your pediatrician before getting Botox while breastfeeding.

In Lubbock? Reach Out!

If you’re in the Lubbock area and interested in Botox for cosmetic or TMJ treatments, schedule a consultation with us. We’ll be happy to revisit this topic and answer any additional questions you have about getting Botox while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Maximizing the Benefits of Vocal Cord Injections: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’ve struggled with a paralyzed or impaired vocal cord, you’re likely familiar with one or all of the unpleasant symptoms: constant breathiness or hoarseness, a weak or quiet voice, and frequent choking or sputtering.

Vocal cord injections could be the safe and effective treatment you need to help with these issues. Here’s what you should know about the procedure.

What Is a Vocal Cord Injection and What Are the Benefits?

The vocal cords are two bands of smooth muscle located inside your voice box (larynx). When you breathe, they open; when you swallow, they close.

When you talk, your vocal cords also close. In this case, air from your lungs passes through them, causing them to vibrate against each other and produce the sound of your voice. 

If you have a paralyzed vocal cord or a vocal cord that’s not moving like it should, it can cause a breathy voice, persistent hoarseness, or difficulty swallowing food. These issues can be irritating, and the possibility of aspirating food into your airways and lungs is actually dangerous.

A vocal cord injection can help temporarily alleviate these problems. Like a filler for your face, vocal cord injections add volume to the tissues inside your voice box.

How does this help? If one of your vocal cords isn’t moving when it should be closing, we can inject the area right next to the damaged vocal cord to push it out toward the middle. There, the opposing healthy vocal cord can now reach the damaged vocal cord to close and vibrate against it during swallowing and talking.

Depending on your diagnosis, we might use a short-term filler substance if we suspect the nerve might recover within a few months. Otherwise, we’ll use a long-term filler, which lasts one to two years.

Ultimately, the main benefits of getting a vocal cord injection are:

  • A more normal voice
  • A stronger cough
  • Less choking, coughing, and sputtering during meals
Infographic: Maximizing the Benefits of Vocal Cord Injections: A Comprehensive Guide

Why Would Someone Need a Vocal Cord Injection?

There are a few reasons why you might experience problems with your vocal cords:

  • A medical procedure: Problems with the vocal cords may be iatrogenic, which means a medical procedure unintentionally caused them. For example, surgeries on the spine, neck, or aortic arch can cause nerve damage that may affect vocal cord function.
  • Unknown causes: Sometimes, vocal cord dysfunction is idiopathic, meaning doctors don’t exactly know what causes it. It could be due to a viral infection, but often, it’s impossible to know.

How Should I Prepare for a Vocal Cord Injection?

You don’t have to do much to prepare for a vocal cord injection. Once we’ve diagnosed the issue and scheduled the surgery, all you have to do is stock up on soft foods and plenty of fluids. You may have a sore throat for a little while following the procedure, so those will be nice to have on hand.

Otherwise, avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before the procedure.

What Happens During the Procedure?

Happily, a vocal cord injection is a very quick and straightforward procedure which can be performed in an ambulatory surgery center.

First, you’re put fully to sleep with general anesthesia for the duration of the procedure. As a precaution, we also place a mouth guard to protect your teeth.

Next, we gently insert a hollow metal tube with a light and camera attached (called a laryngoscope) into your throat so we can view your vocal cords. This, together with an operating microscope, gives us a detailed view of the area.

Using a long, thin needle, we then inject filler material into one or two spots next to the malfunctioning vocal cord. The filler will add more volume to the area and push the damaged vocal cord out toward the middle space.

And that’s it! The entire process takes about five to ten minutes. After a short stay in the recovery area, you’re discharged from the surgery center and sent home to relax for the rest of the day.

What Does Recovery After a Vocal Cord Injection Look Like?

After the procedure, we ask you to minimize how much you use your voice for at least two to three days, though you can still speak. You don’t have to reduce or limit your physical activity at all.

It’s common for your voice to feel a little strained or tight after getting a vocal cord injection. However, as the filler evens out in your vocal cords, your voice should begin to sound much stronger, more understandable, and less breathy.

For a final step in the process, your surgeon will want to follow up with you in a few weeks to evaluate your improvement.

Pediatric vs. Adult Lymph Node Excisions: Does Age Matter?

Certain medical terms, like “lymph node excision,” can sound intimidating and scary, especially when you’re exploring surgical treatment for a child. Plus, you might wonder about the potential impact of the procedure on a child versus an adult.

To clarify, a lymph node excision is the surgical removal of a lymph node — a small, bean-shaped structure that filters lymph fluid and helps your body fight infection. And when a qualified ENT performs a lymph node excision, there’s minimal risk, whether you’re an adult or a child.

That said, it’s still a surgery, and we understand you might have concerns when exploring this treatment option. To help ease your anxiety and inform your decision-making process, here are the main differences between pediatric and adult lymph node excisions.

When Is a Lymph Node Excision Necessary?

Lymph nodes often swell naturally as they help your body fight infections, and then return to normal. However, if you have concerning symptoms in your throat or neck, like an unusually swollen or painful lymph node, it’s possible that your ENT may recommend a lymph node excision.

A swollen lymph node could indicate an infection, or it could mean either a benign or cancerous growth is present. If we suspect cancer, we’ll start with a needle biopsy of the lymph node, which often gives us enough information for a diagnosis and may eliminate the need for a lymph node excision.

If the biopsy shows signs of certain cancers, like lymphoma, we’ll need to take out the entire lymph node to examine its whole structure and identify the type of cancer more specifically.

In certain cases of cancer, a more extreme form of lymph node excision, called neck dissection, may be necessary. But that’s a different and much more extensive surgery that involves removing as many lymph nodes from the neck as possible.

What Does Lymph Node Excision Involve for Adults?

The most common reason for an adult lymph node excision is to check for cancer. 

During a lymph node excision, an ENT makes a small incision over the swollen lymph node and carefully removes it without damaging the surrounding structures. Next, they rinse the incision area and check that there aren’t any punctured or torn blood vessels before closing the site up with stitches.

With this type of surgery, our office typically uses absorbable stitches, so patients don’t have to come back in to get them removed. 

How Is the Procedure Different for Children?

In children, cancer is a far less common reason for lymph node excision. More often, the procedure is necessary in the case of specific infections.

A condition called scrofula, which is a tuberculosis infection of the lymph nodes in the neck, is the most common culprit in kids. Sometimes, we can treat the infection with various antibiotics. Other times, lymph node excision may be necessary instead.

The lymph node excision procedure is the same for children and adults and has no additional risks or side effects.

Infographic: Pediatric vs. Adult Lymph Node Excisions: Does Age Matter?

What to Expect After a Lymph Node Excision

Depending on the situation, a lymph node excision may help your doctor reach a diagnosis, remove a benign or cancerous growth, or treat an infection. Here’s what to expect after the procedure:


Although a lymph node excision is a surgical procedure, there’s very little postoperative recovery involved.

At most, patients may experience some minor pain after the procedure, or slight swelling or bruising around the incision site. All of these are minimal and short-lived.

Long-Term Effects

If you’re worried about the potential lasting impact on your health, it’s important to know that a lymph node excision doesn’t impair or compromise the immune system, regardless of whether the patient is an adult or child. There are several hundred lymph nodes in the neck, and removing one doesn’t cause any issues. In fact, once the excision site heals, it’s as if you never had surgery.

Possible Side Effects

ENT surgeons have an intimate understanding of facial and neck anatomy, and specialized surgical training in those specific areas. For this reason, it’s much safer to have a lymph node excision performed by a qualified ENT than by another type of surgeon, such as a general surgeon.

Some lymph nodes are located near important nerves in the neck. Surgeons without specialized expertise and practice are more likely to run into trouble removing a lymph node near a nerve, potentially causing lasting side effects like nerve damage and permanent disability.

Final Thoughts on Lymph Node Excisions

While the prospect of surgery isn’t exactly pleasant at any time, lymph node excisions reside at the low end of the risk spectrum. And, if you seek out an experienced ENT surgeon for the task, you can rest easy knowing that your body won’t even know the difference in a few days.

If you have concerns about a lymph node excision procedure for yourself or your child, we recommend talking to your ENT. They can clarify the reasoning behind the surgery, provide more details on what you can expect, and help you prepare yourself or your child for the procedure.

Eye Bags, Wrinkles, and Botox Under the Eyes: What You Need to Know

If you have pronounced eye bags, you may have considered Botox as a potential treatment option. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, Botox under the eyes won’t get rid of bags.

Because of the way Botox works, it can’t do anything about bags under your eyes — only fine lines and wrinkles.

But we promise, hope isn’t lost! Let’s take a closer look at what causes under-eye bags, why Botox doesn’t fix them, and alternative treatments you can try.

How Does Botox Under Your Eyes Work? 

Botox is a paralytic agent that temporarily weakens and paralyzes muscles. It only affects the muscles where it’s injected, and it generally lasts for three to four months.

By preventing certain muscles from moving, Botox takes away the underlying cause of many lines and wrinkles. A consultation with an experienced Botox physician will help you determine whether this treatment is a good option to address your specific concern.

What Causes Bags Under the Eyes?

Bags under the eyes are have a very different cause than wrinkles. Typically, under-eye bags are caused by:

  • Fluid accumulation: Fluid can build up beneath the eyes as a result of poor sleep, allergies, or the natural aging process, making the area look puffy and swollen.
  • Allergic shiners: The swelling from persistent nasal allergies can cause blood to pool under the eyes, leading to the appearance of dark circles and, sometimes, puffiness.
  • Slipping fat pads: As we age, the small fat pads around our eyes can slip downward due to gravity’s pull and loss of elasticity. They then settle below the eyes, creating noticeable bags.

Because Botox only works in one way — by paralyzing muscles — it can’t treat under-eye bags caused by these other factors.

Can I Get Botox Under My Eyes?

Yes, you can get Botox injections under your eyes. Just keep in mind that Botox cannot treat under-eye bags, only wrinkles. You’ll need a consultation with your physician to determine whether Botox is a good option in your individual case.

Eye Bags, Wrinkles, and Botox Under the Eyes: What You Need to Know: Infographic

Alternative Treatments for Under-Eye Bags 

Though under-eye bags don’t require medical treatment, you may not like how they look. Botox won’t help, but depending on the cause, several other methods may minimize the appearance of under-eye bags:

  • Get more sleep: Being well-rested can reduce swelling around and under your eyes.
  • Sleep with your head elevated: You don’t have to sleep sitting up, but keeping your head slightly elevated while sleeping can keep fluid from settling in your face overnight.
  • Treat your allergies: Treating your allergies with antihistamines can diminish swelling around the eyes and other allergy symptoms.
  • Put a cool compress on your eyes: A cold compress will lessen inflammation and puffiness by reducing blood flow under your eyes.
  • Reduce the salt in your diet: Excess salt makes your body retain water, which can contribute to puffiness and bags under your eyes. Cutting back your salt intake can help eliminate some of that fluid.
  • Try a different skincare regimen: Certain eye creams and ointments can tighten the skin around your eyes. A dermatologist can provide solid recommendations based on your skin type and sensitivities.
  • Consider plastic surgery: If you’re really concerned about bags under your eyes and want a more permanent solution, plastic surgery is an option. During the procedure, a plastic surgeon reallocates the fat around your eyes and removes excess skin to eliminate bags for good.

Botox Under the Eyes: Final Thoughts

Because of its popularity, many people think Botox can fix any cosmetic issue. As much as we wish that were true, it isn’t.

Due to the way Botox works, it can help with some cosmetic issues — primarily reducing the appearance of wrinkles — but it doesn’t work on concerns like bulges, hollows, or bags under the eyes. That doesn’t mean other treatments aren’t available for these issues. It just means trying Botox for them would be a disappointing investment.

An ENT’s Guide to Understanding Headache Issues After Botox

If you’re thinking about receiving Botox, you probably have questions: How does it work? Will it fix my problem? What are the side effects?

Maybe you’ve even heard stories from friends or the internet that pushed you to ask, can Botox cause headaches? That’s the question we’ll specifically address in this post.

Will You Get a Headache After Botox?

Getting a headache after Botox is extremely rare. Only about 1% of Botox patients experience a serious headache. In fact, within our own practice, we haven’t had any patients develop a severe headache after Botox treatment.

Rarely, however, some patients develop a mild headache that responds well to pain medicine and fades after about a day.

So, can Botox cause headaches? Though the vast majority of people won’t get a headache after Botox treatment, it is possible. We’ll explain a few reasons this might happen, along with some strategies to avoid the discomfort.

Infographic: An ENT’s Guide to Understanding Headache Issues After Botox

How Can Botox Cause Headaches?

If someone develops a headache after Botox, there may be a few reasons why:

  • The number of injections: Many people receive around 15–20 Botox injections in one sitting. Although the needle is tiny, everyone’s body reacts differently. In some cases, repeated injections could aggravate nerve endings to cause mild discomfort or a headache.
  • Poor technique: An inexperienced doctor may use poor technique when injecting Botox, leading to a headache afterward. An example of poor technique is using a dull needle. Needles lose a little sharpness with each use, which can lead to discomfort, so doctors administering Botox must limit the number of injections per needle. 
  • Stress or nervousness: If you’re stressed or nervous about your first Botox injection, you may unintentionally give yourself a tension headache after treatment.
  • Trying to move treated muscles: After getting Botox, you might be tempted to try moving your treated facial muscles, either out of curiosity or to see whether the Botox is working. The extra strain on those and the surrounding muscles could result in a headache.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Headache After Botox?

Even if it’s mild, no one wants to have a headache after getting Botox. Fortunately, if you’re worried, you can take some simple preventative steps:

  • See an experienced doctor: Just like you would with any other medical treatment, ensure you find an experienced, licensed medical doctor to administer Botox treatment. Certain types of doctors, like ENTs, are particularly familiar with facial anatomy. They have extensive knowledge of the face’s musculature and are well-equipped to administer Botox and achieve the best results with the lowest chance of side effects. 
  • Take Tylenol before your appointment: If you already know you’re likely to get a headache after Botox, consider taking the recommended dose of Tylenol (acetaminophen) before you head to your appointment. We don’t recommend NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin or ibuprofen to prevent or treat a headache after Botox. These drugs have mild blood thinning effects that can cause bruising, so Tylenol is the preferred option.
  • Relax: Make sure you’re comfortable with your Botox doctor and the overall treatment environment. If you typically get nervous or anxious before getting Botox, plan a calm day with as few stressors as possible. You can also use simple relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or aromatherapy to relieve anxiety before your appointment. If you prefer a massage to relax, be sure to schedule it before and not after your treatment.
  • Resist testing your muscles: It can be difficult to resist the temptation of trying to move your treated muscles, but do the best you can. It can be helpful to find ways to distract yourself.

What Other Side Effects Can You Expect From Botox?

Botox has minimal side effects, and most people don’t experience any. Seeing an experienced and knowledgeable physician will help you avoid unnecessary and unpleasant complications. However, depending on the location and number of your injections, you might notice some minor, expected effects like:

  • Difficulty pursing your lips: Injections in the lip area could make certain activities more difficult, like drinking through a straw or whistling.
  • General soreness: Since Botox involves tiny injections, more extensive treatments could cause some general soreness. Expect this to resolve quickly.

Your doctor should review all potential side effects with you before you go in for your first Botox treatment. If you have additional questions about headaches after Botox or anything else, don’t hesitate to speak to your provider.

Here’s When You Should See a Doctor for Ear Pain

While earaches are common ailments, they can really interfere with your life. Ear pain ranges from annoying to unbearable, and its causes vary — some concerning, some innocuous.

So, how do you know when to go to the doctor for ear pain?

Deciding whether to visit a doctor can be stressful. To help, we created this handy guide with some common causes of ear pain, what to watch for, and when to make that doctor’s appointment.

Common Misconceptions About Ear Pain

Contrary to popular belief, ear pain is not always caused by an ear infection.

Ear pain can come from many sources, like pressure fluctuations from flying or elevation changes, or from fluid buildup in your ear from a cold or allergies.

Ear pain is also very common with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. In fact, it’s the most common cause of ear pain among the patients we see here at ENT Associates of Lubbock.

Can Ear Pain Resolve on Its Own?

In many situations, ear pain resolves on its own within a couple of days. But if the source of the problem remains, the pain will persist.

For example, if your ear pain is due to congestion from a cold, it will likely go away when your cold symptoms subside. On the other hand, if you develop an ear infection, you’ll need treatment to take care of the problem. If the pain stems from ongoing TMJ issues, it could persist for much longer.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If you don’t know the underlying cause, it can be challenging to know when to go to the doctor for ear pain.

Most ear pain resolves within one to two days. If your pain persists past that, consult your general practitioner or ENT. If it lasts up to a week, seeing a doctor is even more important.

More often than not, ear pain has a simple cause and treatment — like an ear infection — but that’s not always the case. Persistent ear pain can sometimes have more sinister causes, like throat cancer. So, even if the discomfort doesn’t seem like a big deal, it’s always best to check in with your doctor and rule out anything serious.

Infographic: Here’s When You Should See a Doctor for Ear Pain

What Are the Most Common Causes of Ear Pain?

Knowing the most common underlying causes can help you understand when to go to the doctor for ear pain and feel confident in your decision. To summarize, these are the three leading causes of ear pain:

Cause #1: Illness or Allergies

When you have a cold, allergies, or congestion caused by illness, fluid can build up behind your eardrum and cause an earache. The pain isn’t necessarily indicative of an ear infection, but it still hurts and can be very uncomfortable.

A sore throat can also cause ear pain even when the ear itself is perfectly fine. This is called referred pain, and should resolve along with the sore throat.

Ear pain from allergies or an illness should resolve on its own as the ailment improves. If it doesn’t, it’s time to see your doctor.

Cause #2: Pressure Changes

On an airplane, the air pressure changes rapidly and your ears don’t always acclimate fast enough. This results in a painful imbalance of pressure between the air behind your eardrum and the air around you.

The same problem can occur when you change elevation rapidly while driving in the mountains or scuba diving.

Ear pain from pressure changes usually resolves quickly, if not immediately. If it lasts beyond a day or two, however, it could indicate swelling or dysfunction related to your eustachian tubes — the little passages that help equalize pressure behind your ears. In that case, seeing a doctor can help.

Cause #3: Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain

TMJ issues are common, and we see many patients who suffer from ongoing ear pain because of them. The temporomandibular joint is the joint on either side of your head that connects your jawbone to your skull. If you place your fingers just in front of your ears, you can feel the joint’s motion as you open and close your jaw.

TMJ syndrome — commonly referred to as TMJ — causes inflammation, irritation, and pain both in the joint and the surrounding areas. Since the ear canal is close to the temporomandibular joint, the swelling and inflammation can also cause ear pain.

Ear pain from TMJ is more difficult to address since TMJ is a long-term condition. While taking ibuprofen and applying heat can help, they don’t address the root cause.

Botox is a relatively new treatment for TMJ that’s showing great promise. It resolves symptoms for several months at a time, and may even reduce TMJ problems in the long term. If you want to explore Botox for TMJ, you’ll need to find a reputable doctor with the knowledge and experience to apply the treatment properly.

Final Thoughts on When to Go to the Doctor for Ear Pain

If you’re still unsure what to do about an earache, the adage “better safe than sorry” is a good rule to go by.

While ear infections are more common in children, they can happen in adults. If you have ear pain that’s severe or lasts more than a day or two, it’s best to get checked out. Your doctor can help determine the cause and provide the best treatment and recommendations for relief.

What to Look for When Searching for Otolaryngology Near Me 

The relationship between doctor and patient is an important one. Naturally, you want your doctor to have experience, confidence, and top-notch expertise in whatever you’re seeing them for. You want to know you’re in good hands.

But how do you find a doctor you’re comfortable with? Googling terms like “otolaryngology near me” or “pediatric otolaryngology near me” will get you countless results, but choosing can be overwhelming.

To help narrow your search, we’ll review what exactly an otolaryngologist is, when to see one, and three traits to look for in an otolaryngologist near you.

Why See an Otolaryngologist vs. a General Practitioner?

Otolaryngologist is the medical term for an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT. Oto means ear, and laryng refers to part of the throat. (The title also used to include rhino, meaning nose, but that was a mouthful.) They’re also sometimes referred to as head and neck surgeons.

Otolaryngologists receive specialized education and training to treat a wide range of conditions involving the ears, nose, and throat. They work in both the clinical and surgical sides of patient care — a rarity among specialists. For example, you would visit a cardiologist for evaluation and care recommendations, but you’d see a cardiothoracic surgeon if you needed a procedure.

When it comes to the ears, nose, and throat, the doctor you see in the office can be the same doctor who performs your surgery. Their ability to use both medical and surgical methods allows them to take a uniquely well-rounded approach to treatment.

Some ENTs also have specific sub-specializations, such as cancer or throat surgeries. A general, or comprehensive, ENT can refer patients diagnosed with rare or severe conditions to their more specialized counterparts.

Otolaryngology doesn’t overlap with many other specialties. While ENTs don’t treat the brain, eyes, teeth, or spine, their care for all the other soft-tissue structures in the head and neck area is fairly comprehensive. Other doctors may provide a subsection of the same treatment services — allergists, for example — but only ENTs provide comprehensive medical and surgical treatments for ear, nose, and throat issues.

Infographic: What to Look for When Searching for Otolaryngology Near Me

3 Traits to Look for in an Otolaryngologist Near You

When searching for “otolaryngology near me,” it’s important to understand how to weed through all the results online. Since it can be difficult to judge an ENT doctor from behind a screen, here are the three most important traits we recommend looking for:

Trait #1: Experience

Choosing an experienced otolaryngologist ensures you’ll receive the best quality care. If they’ve had good training and been in practice for a few years, they’ll be better equipped to identify issues, treat effectively, and avoid surgical complications.

An experienced ENT will also have the self-awareness to know what they can and can’t treat, and when they should refer you to someone more specialized.

An experienced otolaryngologist will have a professional reputation you can look into. Beyond Google reviews, an excellent ENT office will do more than say they’re the best — they’ll show it with comprehensive, well-rounded services, compassionate care, and reliable resources that help you make informed decisions about your health.

For example, here at ENT Associates of Lubbock, we have the most extensive library of educational materials for our patients. We offer this because we prioritize patient-centered care and want you to have the best treatment experience possible.

Trait #2: Ability to Communicate

For medical treatment of any kind, it’s essential to have a clear picture of your diagnosis, understand the treatment and why it’s necessary, and feel comfortable with the entire process. That’s why you need a physician who can communicate clearly with you before, during, and after your treatment.

When searching for an otolaryngologist near you, look for one with excellent communication skills. They should listen to your concerns and symptoms without dismissing them. Once they have a diagnosis, they should explain your condition clearly and allow you time to ask questions. 

A good ENT will review all your treatment options with you in understandable terms (versus confusing medical jargon) so you can make informed decisions. They should also be collaborative and willing to make referrals to specialized otolaryngologists when necessary.

Of course, an otolaryngologist should always be honest about your condition and its outcomes, show empathy, and provide professional recommendations. 

Poor communication can really impede your care, but a physician who communicates well empowers you to make good choices for your health.

Trait #3: Strong Support Staff

When you search for “otolaryngology near me,” it’s easy to focus only on the quality of the doctor. But the quality of the office is important, too. Even if an ENT is phenomenal, if you can’t get in to see them, it doesn’t benefit you.

A high-quality support staff ensures an otolaryngology office runs smoothly. They answer the phone when you call, schedule appointments in a timely manner, relay messages to the doctor effectively, and call you back when needed. You’ll be able to reach your doctor easily and address questions and concerns promptly.

An efficient and organized support ensures adequate and timely care without unnecessary roadblocks and frustrations.

When to Search for “Pediatric Otolaryngology Near Me” vs. “General Otolaryngology Near Me”

If you’re searching for an ENT for your child, start with a general/comprehensive otolaryngologist. A general ENT has all the necessary training and expertise to treat most pediatric issues.

However, if your child is diagnosed with a severe or rare condition, a good ENT will refer you to a pediatric otolaryngologist for more specialized care. Instead of starting with Googling “pediatric otolaryngology near me,” a referral from a comprehensive ENT will ensure you receive sound medical treatment from the most qualified professional.

Can You Get Botox if You Had the COVID Vaccine?

The first COVID vaccine was introduced in the U.S. in December 2020, and several others followed. While it’s been a few years since their initial introduction, COVID vaccines remain relatively new technology — and understandably, people have plenty of questions about them. 

One such question is whether there are any known harmful interactions between Botox and the COVID vaccine. Is it safe to get Botox and the COVID vaccine close together? Is there any reason to wait?

Before getting into the details, here’s a quick answer:

There are no known interactions, side effects, or risks of getting both Botox and the COVID vaccine

That said, it’s always a good idea to do your research before getting two treatments close together. If you’ve had the COVID vaccine and you’re interested in getting Botox (or vice versa), here’s what you need to know.

What Is Botox and How Does It Work?

Botox is botulinum toxin A and a paralytic agent. It temporarily binds to nerves and prevents the release of the neurotransmitters (naturally occurring chemicals in your body) that normally communicate with your muscles. As a result, the muscles no longer receive signals from the nerves to move.

Cosmetically, this weakened muscle activity results in fewer creases and wrinkles in the overlying skin. Medically, Botox can treat certain health conditions, including temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ, which causes jaw inflammation and pain.

Botox is a localized treatment, meaning it’s limited to the area of the body where it’s injected. Treatments take up to a week to take full effect, and they last about three to four months. During that time, the body metabolizes the Botox and clears it from your system, allowing your muscles to move freely again.

Over time, however, treated muscles tend to weaken as you continue with injections, so you don’t need them as often.

What Is the COVID Vaccine and How Does It Work?

The COVID vaccine helps the body develop its immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Currently, there are four COVID vaccines available in the United States.

The first two — by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — are mRNA vaccines, a relatively new technology. However, the process used to create the mRNA vaccines isn’t entirely new; researchers were already using it to develop cancer therapies. To make the COVID vaccine, researchers simply applied that same process to the SARS-CoV-2 virus instead of to cancer.

Unlike other vaccines that inject an inactivated or weakened version of a virus into your body for your immune system to recognize, the mRNA COVID vaccines work by injecting a small blueprint of the virus’s messenger RNA (mRNA) into the cells in your arm. Your cells then take up the mRNA and use it to produce a spike protein similar to the one on the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

As a result, the vaccine teaches your body to recognize the distinctive spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19, so when you encounter the actual virus, your immune system can fight it off more quickly. 

Infographic: Can You Get Botox if You Had the COVID Vaccine?

Are There Any Known Side Effects or Risks of Getting Botox and the COVID Vaccine?

In short, no.

It’s completely safe to get Botox if you’ve had the COVID vaccine, and it’s completely safe to get the COVID vaccine if you’ve had Botox. There are no known risks, side effects, contraindications, or interactions involved with getting Botox and the COVID vaccine; the two aren’t related at all.

The only thing they have in common is that they’re both injections. Though this may sound silly, they’re as unrelated as tying your shoes and putting on a shirt — they’re both wardrobe-related, but one has nothing to do with the other.

It’s important to speak to your doctor if you have any additional questions about Botox and its interactions with other injections or medications. If you’re in the Lubbock area, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with us. We’re happy to answer your questions and give you all the details you need to feel safe and confident about your Botox treatment!

Botox for TMJ: The Doctor’s Guide to Using Botox to Relieve Jaw Pain and Tension

TMJ affects millions of Americans, causing discomfort, pain, and soreness. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available, including Botox

Using Botox for TMJ is an effective and safe alternative to conservative therapies or bite guards. Plus, it’s fast and easy, with virtually no recovery time or side effects.

If you’re considering Botox for TMJ, here’s what you need to know:

What Is TMJ and What Causes It?

Temporomandibular joint syndrome, also called TMJ, is a condition that causes dysfunction in the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles.

Basically, TMJ is a mini-arthritis or inflammation within the joint that connects the mandible, or the jawbone, to the temporal bone, which is part of the skull. It’s like having a sprained ankle or tennis elbow in the joint right in front of your ear, where the jaw hinges on the skull.

TMJ is associated with symptoms including pain and tenderness in the jaw, achiness in or around the ear, and a locking jaw joint, making it difficult to open and close your mouth.

Most often, TMJ results from overuse or repetitive jaw muscle movement. Other causes include skull injury, grinding teeth, or genetics.

How Can Botox Help With TMJ?

Botox is a popular aesthetic treatment, but we also use it to relieve the symptoms of TMJ.

When we use Botox for TMJ treatment, we gently inject it into the masseter muscle, which is the large, strong muscle you feel in your cheek when you clench your teeth. We may also treat the temporalis muscle, which is another large chewing muscle on the side of your head near your temple.

TMJ Botox treatments partially paralyze these muscles, temporarily weakening them to relieve the strain and pressure on the temporomandibular joint. This provides much-needed relief from painful TMJ symptoms and gives the joint time to heal.

What to Expect During Botox for TMJ 

If you and your doctor decide to proceed with Botox for TMJ, you’ll find it’s a quick and easy process. We use a very small needle to gently inject Botox into your chewing muscle. The entire procedure consists of about three to four tiny injections, and due to the small size of the needle, it’s relatively painless.

You can expect to see a significant improvement in your symptoms within about three to four days after receiving Botox for TMJ.

infographic: Botox for TMJ: The Doctor’s Guide to Using Botox to Relieve Jaw Pain and Tension

What Are Some Alternative Treatments for TMJ?

While Botox is an effective way to relieve TMJ symptoms, it’s usually not the first line of treatment offered. Instead, we recommend the following solutions first:

  • Heat: Apply a heating pad, hot towel, or warm compress to the joint.
  • Medication: Take ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Rest: Try not to grind your teeth or chew as much as possible. Avoid gum, chewy candy, nuts, steak, ice, or other tough-to-chew items.

If those treatment methods are unsuccessful, the second line of treatments we typically recommend include a bite guard — a simple mouthpiece that keeps teeth from clenching or grinding and helps alleviate the painful pressure in your jaw — or TMJ Botox treatments.

Are There Any Risks or Side Effects of Botox for TMJ?

When injected properly, there are very few risks or side effects of using Botox for TMJ. There may be a small amount of bruising in some instances, but even that’s rare.

A doctor is most qualified to treat TMJ with Botox because they have the necessary medical and anatomical knowledge to prevent unwanted side effects. As long as you see a knowledgeable medical doctor for your Botox treatment, there’s minimal risk involved.

What Is the Recovery Process Like?

TMJ Botox treatments only require a quick office visit, and there’s virtually no recovery time needed. Immediately after leaving the office, you can return to work, run errands, or complete any other activities you had planned for the day.

How Often Will I Need to Repeat the Botox Treatment?

Botox generally wears off in about three months. Often, that’s all the time you need for your temporomandibular joint to heal from stress and overuse. However, depending on the severity of your condition, you might need to come back in for a repeat treatment.

If you have severe TMJ symptoms, we may want to see you for Botox treatment every three to four months. As you continue your treatments, you won’t need to come in as often because the Botox will weaken the muscles over time, reducing the severity of your TMJ symptoms.

How Many Units of Botox Are Needed to Treat TMJ?

Since the masseter muscle is large, it requires more units of Botox than a cosmetic treatment. Botox for TMJ typically requires about 15–20 units per side, or 30–40 units total. 

It’s important that we treat both sides of the jaw because if only one side weakens, the other side will still pull hard on the mandible. Uneven pressure on just one side will worsen TMJ symptoms.

If you have any other questions about Botox for TMJ, we encourage you to speak with an experienced physician about this treatment. If you live in West Texas, don’t hesitate to contact us and set up a consultation!

While Botox isn’t the only available treatment option for TMJ, exploring every possible solution is essential to getting lasting relief from painful symptoms.

How Does Diet Affect Sleep Apnea?

Your diet affects most aspects of your well-being, including your physical health and weight. But did you know poor eating habits could contribute to your risk of developing sleep apnea?

Because it’s not always clear how what we eat directly affects sleep apnea, we need to delve into some of the details. What improves symptoms? What worsens them? Is there a good diet for sleep apnea?

Let’s take a look.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Before we talk about diet for sleep apnea, let’s quickly review what the condition is.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is caused by an airway blockage. 

If you have sleep apnea, you might experience symptoms like snoring, gasping for air while you sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Your significant other might also tell you that you seem to stop breathing while sleeping.

The severity of OSA depends on the number of nightly episodes you have per hour:

  • Mild — 5–15
  • Moderate — 15–30
  • Severe — 30 or more

If you think you might have sleep apnea, a sleep specialist can diagnose the condition with an at-home sleep test or an in-lab sleep study. 

Infographic: How Does Diet Affect Sleep Apnea?

What’s the Connection Between Obesity and Sleep Apnea?

Researchers have long recognized the connection between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea.

While non-obese people can certainly have sleep apnea, the heavier a person is, the higher their risk of developing the condition. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 60–90% of adults with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight.

Obstructive sleep apnea often develops alongside obesity because of the added pressure the weight gain puts on the airway. When an overweight or obese person lies down to sleep, the muscles in their airway relax, and all that extra tissue falls on top, causing a natural obstruction. Additionally, the airway is somewhat constricted to begin with because the deposits of fatty tissue take up so much space around it.

What’s the Best Diet for Sleep Apnea?


Because of the connection between excess weight and OSA, a good diet for sleep apnea is one that helps you maintain a healthy weight.

Watch your caloric intake, making sure you’re not consuming more calories than your body needs to function. If you do, your body will store those extra calories as fat, contributing to your OSA symptoms.

If you receive an OSA diagnosis, it’s also important to prioritize a well-balanced diet of healthy, whole foods to help with weight loss. Some people benefit from a Mediterranean diet, some from straightforward calorie reduction, and some from strategies like intermittent fasting. The point is simply to find a healthy way to reduce weight. Talk with your doctor to determine the most effective and realistic course for you.

You might find it helpful to know that lack of sleep can increase cravings for unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Just remember, that’s the sleep apnea talking!

As you shed excess body fat, you’ll very likely notice a reduction in your OSA symptoms.


Besides making healthy food choices in your diet for sleep apnea, you’ll want to be mindful that one specific drink can significantly worsen sleep apnea symptoms.

Alcohol is a sedative, and research shows alcohol’s sedative qualities worsen and can potentially cause sleep apnea symptoms. Alcohol causes your muscles to lose tone, meaning they can more easily relax into your airway, causing obstruction.

On top of that, alcohol makes it more difficult for you to wake from sleep. If you have OSA, you normally wake up slightly when you stop breathing. When sedated by alcohol, it’s much harder and takes much longer for you to awaken and resume breathing.


Though not strictly part of a diet for sleep apnea, it’s also important to consider what medications you take. Like alcohol, some medications can have a sedative effect that worsens sleep apnea symptoms. These include:

  • Antihistamines (especially diphenhydramine, or Benadryl)
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opiates
  • Barbiturates

Certain sleep aids may also worsen symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, though they may be helpful for other sleep-related conditions. These include:

  • Ambien
  • Lunesta
  • Melatonin

Even medications like NyQuil or Tylenol PM, which attempt to help you sleep when you’re sick, include sedative medications that can worsen OSA symptoms.

What to Do if You’re Experiencing Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

If you suspect you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, there are several things you should do:

  • Take it seriously. Sleep apnea is not a minor condition that’s okay to ignore. It can be dangerous and result in serious health complications if left untreated. However, treatment is relatively simple and can prevent both short- and long-term dangers.
  • Talk to your doctor. If you think you have OSA, the first step is to see your primary care doctor. They may recommend you complete an in-lab or at-home sleep study if your symptoms correlate with sleep apnea.
  • Watch your weight. If you’ve noticed an increase in your weight alongside increased symptoms of sleep apnea, losing weight might make a difference. Consider implementing a good diet for sleep apnea as discussed in this post, as well as regular exercise.

Sleep apnea is more common than you may think, but it’s also treatable. If you’re experiencing symptoms, reach out and schedule a consultation with your doctor!

7 Treatment Options for Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Once you’ve received a mild obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis, the next step is exploring your treatment options. Fortunately, obstructive sleep apnea is a well-known condition, and there are several ways to manage and even cure the symptoms.

Finding the best treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea may seem overwhelming at first, but with the help of an experienced physician, you can find a solution that works for you.

In this article, we’ll review seven top treatment options for mild obstructive sleep apnea. But first, to help you understand each option and why it helps, let’s quickly review how obstructive sleep apnea affects the body.

What Is Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea and How Is It Diagnosed?

Mild obstructive sleep apnea is a blockage of the airway that causes you to stop breathing temporarily multiple times per night while you sleep. It’s categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how many disrupted breathing episodes you experience per hour:

  • Mild obstructive sleep apnea: 5–15 episodes per hour
  • Moderate obstructive sleep apnea: 15–30 episodes per hour
  • Severe obstructive sleep apnea: 30 or more episodes per hour

A doctor can diagnose mild obstructive sleep apnea with a sleep study — also called a polysomnogram — in a hospital lab or sleep clinic. These in-depth tests detect obstructive sleep apnea as well as other sleep disorders. Alternatively, you can opt for an at-home sleep test, which is a little less in-depth but more specifically geared toward diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea.

What Are the Benefits of Treating Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

One of the primary benefits of getting treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea is enjoying better sleep, which improves overall health. Additional benefits include:

  • Less fatigue and lethargy
  • More energy
  • Better performance at school or work
  • Healthier immune system
  • Lower long-term risk of medical events like heart attacks and strokes
  • Fewer short-term risks from severe daytime drowsiness, like accidents at work or while driving
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced snoring

In general, people who get better sleep are healthier and happier. Getting treatment for even mild obstructive sleep apnea is an effective way to improve your overall well-being, whether you’re awake or asleep.

7 Treatment Options for Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea isn’t something to ignore, so if you’ve received a diagnosis, it’s important to get treatment. Untreated sleep apnea can be quite dangerous, both in the short and long term.

Fortunately, there are quite a few treatments for mild obstructive sleep apnea that can help you find relief. 

Infographic: 7 Treatment Options for Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Treatment #1: Diet and Exercise

If a person is overweight, they’re more likely to have extra tissue around their throat and airway. When their muscles relax during sleep, this extra tissue can put pressure on the airway and block airflow to the lungs.

Losing a few pounds through a healthy diet and regular exercise can help many people reduce the excess tissue that presses on their airway. Since exercise also improves muscle tone, it can help keep the muscles around the airway from relaxing so much during sleep.

While it requires commitment and hard work, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet can produce real results. According to Harvard Health Publishing, losing just 10% of your body weight can significantly reduce sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, losing a considerable amount of weight may even cure sleep apnea completely!

Treatment #2: Oral Appliance

Another treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea is an oral appliance from a dentist. With mild obstructive sleep apnea, a small adjustment to your jaw and airway can be enough to make a difference. Oral appliances resemble a mouthguard, and they cause mild forward jaw movement to keep your airway open while you sleep.

If you’re interested in oral appliance therapy, talk with a sleep specialist and a knowledgeable dentist. They’ll help determine whether this option is right for you.

Treatment #3: Wedge Pillow

For many people, sleeping on their back worsens sleep apnea symptoms. However, even if you know this and try to sleep on your side, it’s not always easy to keep yourself from rolling onto your back.

Fortunately, several products can help you maintain a more favorable position while you sleep.

For example, a wedge pillow is a specialty pillow that keeps you from sleeping flat on your back. Similarly, we’ve seen a wearable collar- or belt-like device you can position around your neck or chest that gently vibrates if you roll onto your back during sleep. Or, you find t-shirts that have a pocket for a tennis ball sewn onto the back to keep you on your side while you sleep.

Treatment #4: Phone Apps

Certain smartphone apps can also help relieve symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea by alerting you when you roll onto your back, snore, or have low oxygen levels. These apps may help you change your sleep habits with gentle watch vibrations or mobile notifications.

Treatment #5: Tongue-Strengthening Exercises

A new treatment for mild obstructive sleep apnea called eXciteOSA is a type of daytime therapy. This device is a simple mouthpiece you wear for 20 minutes daily.

The mouthpiece stimulates your tongue with exercises that tone and strengthen it. Over time, it retrains your tongue to stay in position overnight while you sleep.

The eXciteOSA device pairs with an app that allows you to control the intensity of the stimulation and get reminders and notifications about your therapy sessions. 

Though the eXiteOSA device might be the easiest form of exercise, you can also perform beneficial oropharyngeal exercises without external assistance.

Treatment #6: Improved Nasal Airway

If you have a nasal obstruction blocking airflow through your nose, it could be causing or worsening your sleep apnea symptoms. To address this issue, an ENT doctor can evaluate your nasal passages and determine what’s causing the obstruction. Then they’ll be able to provide the appropriate treatment. 

Clearing a nasal airway obstruction allows more air through the nose, which indirectly causes less obstruction.

Treatment #7: Tonsillectomy

Sleep issues are one of the main symptoms of enlarged tonsils. Removing your tonsils with a procedure known as a tonsillectomy can provide much-needed relief from nighttime symptoms. In some cases, it may cure mild obstructive sleep apnea.

If you and your ENT decide to proceed with a tonsillectomy, they can help you prepare for the procedure and answer any questions you have.

Final Thoughts on Treatments for Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea

With so many treatment options for mild obstructive sleep apnea, it’s not always easy to know which one is best for you. Seeing a sleep specialist and an ENT doctor can help you determine what’s causing your sleep apnea and which treatments will help you sleep better!

How to Find a Qualified Botox Doctor Near You

Botox has been around for long enough that most people are familiar with the basics — you notice some wrinkles, you get a few Botox injections, and the wrinkles disappear.

That’s all correct, but you might still have questions that the basics don’t cover, like:

  • How much does Botox help?
  • Who can administer Botox?
  • Where can I find Botox near me?

One of the most important questions about Botox treatments is how to find a qualified Botox doctor in your area. In this post, we’ll talk about why choosing an experienced, qualified physician for Botox is important and what questions can help you find one.

Who Can Give Botox Injections?

In the United States, only medical professionals with specialized training are legally authorized to administer Botox injections. In every state, this includes physicians, but many states also allow nurses, physician’s assistants, dentists, and similar professionals to perform injections.

An esthetician, however, can’t legally deliver Botox injections unless that person also happens to be a medical professional.

Why It’s Important to Find a Qualified Physician

While various medical professionals can provide Botox injections, certain types of physicians are particularly familiar with facial anatomy. Their specialized training and more extensive knowledge of the face’s musculature mean they are best equipped to minimize risk and achieve the best results for patients.

Facial anatomy isn’t exactly the same from person to person. Muscles can be larger or smaller, and slightly different in shape and/or location. There are a lot of muscles next to and overlapping each other in the face, as well. Without the necessary expertise, it’s easy for a legal Botox provider to accidentally inject the wrong spot or the wrong amount, causing side effects that last months.

In the end, choosing a qualified, experienced physician who knows facial anatomy will get you better results and save time and money.

Infographic: How to Find a Qualified Botox Doctor Near You

How to Find a Qualified Botox Doctor Near You

To find a Botox doctor near you, it’s important to look into the qualifications and background of anyone you’re considering. We’ve provided five questions to consider below.

1. What is the doctor’s experience?

You can start by looking into the experience of the doctor you’re considering. Is their specialty related to the face? How much practice do they have injecting Botox? Do they consistently produce great results for their patients?

2. Do patients return for their follow-up Botox treatments?

One way to find out how well a doctor near you administers Botox is to find out whether their patients come back for their ongoing Botox treatments. You can also check online reviews or before-and-after photos if any are available.

3. What are the doctor’s credentials?

Again, it’s important to be sure the medical professional who will actually be performing your Botox injections is a specialized physician. Once you locate an appropriate specialty practice, such as an ENT office, you can call to ask who actually administers the Botox injections.

Is it the physician, or a PA under supervision? Does the physician have any Botox training or experience?

Though it might be tempting to save money by visiting a lower-cost establishment, consider how much risk you’re willing to take. A job poorly done is more expensive — not to mention more distressing — than paying a little more for a qualified professional.

4. What results can I expect?

A trained, experienced physician should be able to understand and diagnose your particular case during a face-to-face consultation. They should also be able to tell you whether or not Botox will actually help you, and how much.

A qualified physician isn’t just throwing Botox at every issue they see. Instead, they take care to identify the specific problem and set reasonable expectations for the outcome.

5. How do you handle unexpected outcomes?

Though seeing a qualified specialist minimizes the risk of side effects, especially in Botox “danger zones,” no procedure is ever 100% risk-free. With that in mind, ask the physician how they handle unexpected outcomes after Botox treatments.

Do they have a plan? Will they take steps to correct an issue, or will you need to see another doctor? Do they have enough background with Botox not to compound a problem by attempting the wrong solutions?

This is why having an experienced doctor is so important.

Find a Great Botox Doctor Near You

No one wants to endure months with the results of a faulty Botox treatment. To minimize that possibility, seek a qualified Botox doctor near you. Now that you know what questions to ask, you should be able to find an experienced professional who understands exactly what’s needed to address your concerns.

What You Need to Know About Swollen Tonsils

Whether it was once or twice as a kid or more of an ongoing battle, chances are you or someone you know has experienced the unpleasant sensation of swollen tonsils.

Swollen tonsils can be uncomfortable and painful, making it difficult to eat, drink, and even sleep. But what causes swollen tonsils?

In this article, we’ll delve into the most common (and some not-so-common!) causes of this common ailment.

What Are Swollen Tonsils?

Your tonsils are the two little mounds of tissue that sit on either side of the back of your throat. To be more accurate, those are your palatine tonsils — the most famous of the human tonsils.

In reality, the tonsils are part of a circle of tissue in the back of the nose and the throat called Waldeyer’s ring, which includes:

  • Palatine tonsils — the familiar tonsils at the back of the throat, which we usually just call tonsils
  • Pharyngeal tonsils — also called adenoids, which live behind the nose
  • Lingual tonsils — which don’t get much fanfare (and don’t have a nickname) and which live on the back of the tongue

Despite what conventional wisdom taught in the past, tonsils do have a role to play. All the tonsils, including those at the back of your throat, are made up of lymphatic tissue and comprise part of your body’s immune system.

Essentially, your tonsils are little lymph nodes in your throat. To ward off infection, they act as filters to catch viruses and bacteria trying to enter your body through the nose and mouth.

If you’ve ever been sick and noticed swollen spheres on either side of your neck, you know that lymph nodes swell as they try to fight off infection. So, occasional swollen tonsils are normal and indicate your immune system is working to protect you.

However, excessive swelling, long-term swelling, and additional symptoms can indicate something’s gone wrong with the system.

Two Types of Swollen Tonsils

In evaluating swollen tonsils, one of the most important things to consider is whether the swelling is short term (acute) or long term (chronic).

Short-term swelling is episodic, meaning it comes and goes. It often accompanies a nearby infection, an allergy flare-up, or an infection of the tonsils themselves. When the issue resolves, the tonsils shrink back to normal size again.

Short-term swelling might produce certain annoying symptoms while they last, such as snoring or pain, but these issues resolve when the swelling does.

Long-term swollen tonsils, on the other hand, are characterized by chronic, persistent swelling. You might notice your enlarged tonsils every time you use a mirror to look in your throat, or your doctor or dentist might comment on them regularly. They never seem to fully shrink down, even when you’re not sick.

Besides the visible characteristics, symptoms of chronic swollen tonsils can include difficulty swallowing food, a muffled or “hot potato” voice, and consistent snoring, even in children. They can increase the risk of sleep apnea.

The Most Common Causes of Swollen Tonsils

By far, the most common cause of swollen tonsils is tonsillitis from a bacterial or viral infection. There are, however, several other common causes to keep in mind.

Infrographic: What You Need to Know About Swollen Tonsils

Swollen Tonsils From Infections

One of the most common causes of swollen tonsils we see is strep throat. Strep throat is a particularly unpleasant bacterial infection of the throat that frequently affects children and teens. It typically causes a high fever, throat pain, and difficulty swallowing, along with swollen tonsils.

On the viral side, upper respiratory infections frequently cause acute swollen tonsils. Mono, or mononucleosis, also causes swollen tonsils that can take much longer to resolve.

Swollen Tonsils From Allergies

Allergies are the immune system’s overreaction to a particle like pollen or dander entering the body. It mistakes the particle for a viral or bacterial invader and reacts to fight off the perceived threat. Because the tonsils are part of the immune system, they get involved, too.

Swollen Tonsils From COVID-19

Like any upper respiratory infection, COVID-19 can cause swollen tonsils. However, we haven’t seen a particularly strong link between the two.

Swollen Tonsils From Birth

Some people are simply born with larger tonsils than others. Unfortunately, this means they may encounter the symptoms of swollen tonsils more often, since any swelling is more noticeable. Even without swelling, large tonsils can interfere with swallowing or contribute to sleep apnea.

Other Reasons for Swollen Tonsils

If a patient comes in with swollen tonsils, we’re always cognizant of the possibility of tonsil cancer. Fortunately, tonsil cancer is fairly easy for a trained professional to spot. It includes symptoms like:

  • Asymmetrically enlarged tonsils
  • Pain in the throat
  • Pain in the ear on the same side as the swollen tonsil
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Voice changes
  • Symptoms don’t go away, but progressively worsen

Tonsil cancer isn’t nearly as common a cause of swollen tonsils as the other causes mentioned above. Also, it’s important to note that swollen tonsils — even chronically swollen tonsils — don’t cause tonsil cancer. They can simply be a symptom of it.

When to See a Doctor for Swollen Tonsils

If you’re wondering why your tonsils are swollen, especially if they’ve been swollen for longer than a few days or with an unknown cause, see a doctor. They can investigate the source of the problem and advise you on what steps to take.

Sometimes antibiotics are appropriate, and sometimes antihistamines can help. Tonsillectomies are much less common now than they used to be, but doctors may recommend them in more severe or chronic cases.


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