Pediatric otolaryngology research at Mayo Clinic is focused on four major areas:
Velopharyngeal insufficiency, the inadequate closing of the velopharyngeal sphincter often due to a congenital abnormality, can result in problems such as hypernasal speech or regurgitation of fluids through the nose when swallowing. Treatment options for velopharyngeal insufficiency include various surgical techniques or the use of injectable filler.
Basic science research at Mayo in this area includes studying the efficacy of augmenting the nasopharynx with rolled acellular dermis. Prospective clinical studies are comparing outcomes, such as voice and perceptual analysis, between people who have undergone surgery and those receiving injectable filler.
Ear disease and otitis media
Mayo is involved in the Parent Response to Ear Disease in Children With and Without Tubes (PREDICT) Study, a multi-institutional study investigating the impact that ear disease — in children ages 6 months to two years — has on the child and his or her family's quality of life.
Additionally, otolaryngology researchers have developed a questionnaire that gathers data about all children seen at Mayo who have recurrent acute or chronic serous otitis media. This data is being used to populate a database, which will be used for many future research projects.
Tonsil and adenoid disease
An adenoidectomy database is used to track characteristics and outcomes of children who have undergone adenoidectomy — surgical removal of the adenoids — at Mayo. Data from approximately 8,400 children are now in the database, which is currently being used to investigate factors that may influence the need for revision adenoidectomy.
Other tonsil- and adenoid-related studies are utilizing the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP), a unique medical records-linkage system containing health data from residents of Olmsted County, Minn., the site of Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus.
One past study using the REP has examined trends in adenotonsillectomy1 — surgical removal of both the tonsils and adenoids — while another has looked at the efficacy of adenotonsillectomy for recurrent strep infection.2
Aerodigestive tract disorders
Proper neurological and anatomic development of the upper aerodigestive tract is essential for normal feeding and breathing. Ongoing Mayo research into disorders of the upper aerodigestive tract includes:
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