Tag Archives: tonsils

Pediatric ENT Surgery Close to Home

Most parents have suffered with their little ones through ear infections or tonsillitis. They may have even heard dreaded words that their child needed surgery to make things better. Thankfully, Lexington Medical Center works to make those situations as easy as possible for families.
In addition to a wide variety of outpatient surgery programs for adults, the outpatient surgery department at the hospital’s community medical center in Lexington offers pediatric ear, nose, and throat surgeries by doctors from Lexington ENT & Allergy, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. The physicians perform approximately 50 surgeries on children each month.

The most common cases are ear tube placements.

Dr. Andrew Battiata with a young patient at Lexington Medical Center Lexington’s outpatient surgery department

“Children are more prone to ear infections because the mechanism that equalizes pressure behind the eardrum is not fully developed yet,” said Andrew P. Battiata, MD, of Lexington ENT & Allergy. “Ear tube surgery is a simple and quick procedure where doctors place a small, plastic tube in the ear drum to equalize pressure and prevent ear infections. It helps children avoid antibiotics and stay out the doctor’s office.”

Treating children of all ages, nearly 50% of the practice’s pediatric ENT surgery patients are children under the age of 12. And, all of the physicians have training in pediatric ear, nose and throat problems.

The doctors at Lexington ENT & Allergy can also remove tonsils and adenoids in the outpatient surgery setting.

“The most common reasons we take tonsils and adenoids out are the obstructive symptoms such as snoring, mouth breathing and obstructive sleep apnea,” Dr. Battiata said.

The patient experience at Lexington Medical Center’s outpatient surgery facilities has consistently measured in the top 5% of all surgery centers in the nation. 
The clinical teams enjoy making the youngest patients feel welcome. A nurse greets each child arriving for surgery in the lobby and spends time playing with them for a few minutes. Each pre-op patient is offered a hand-held, portable DVD player. Children can choose what movies they’d like to watch.
Pre-op room curtains provide the perfect backdrop for the puppets the nurses use with the children while doctors are talking to their parents. Each young patient also receives a “Lexy Bear,” a Lexington Medical Center teddy bear, wearing a surgical cap and mask.
The children head to the operating room for surgery in the comfort of a red wagon that parades the hallways like a train. In the OR, anesthesia surgical masks are called “astronaut masks,” and children learn that they help you sleep and fly to the moon.

Clockwise from top left: Andrew Battiata, MD; Edward, A Woody. MD; Neal W. Burkhalter, MD; and Melanie W. Seybt, MD

All of the nurses have training in pediatric advanced life support. Should an emergency happen, they can act on it quickly. There are also two nurses available per child in the recovery room.
After surgery, nurses rock the children in rocking chairs until they wake up. When they open their eyes, Mom and Dad come in and a popsicle is served.
Patients who are receiving ear tubes are usually there for about two hours. The procedure itself takes about 15 to 20 minutes; most of the time is spent in pre-op and recovery.

Patients who have their tonsils and adenoids removed stay for about three hours.
When the child is awake, meets all criteria and the parents are comfortable, they can go home.

“It’s a great atmosphere that serves our patients well,” Dr. Battiata said.
And that’s just what the doctor ordered.
Lexington ENT & Allergy
Lexington Medical Park 2, Suite 200
146 North Hospital Drive
West Columbia, SC 29169
(803) 936 – 7530


The Doctor Is In: Meet Neal Burkhalter, MD

Dr. Neal Burkhalter is a physician with Lexington ENT & Allergy, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. He joined our hospital network recently. We sat down with him to get to know him and ask him some clinical questions related to his specialty.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a doctor?
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a doctor – probably by age 12 or 13 – and that persisted throughout my education. I also had great educators who encouraged me and gave me confidence to pursue medicine.

Dr. Neal Burkhalter of Lexington ENT & Allergy

Dr. Neal Burkhalter of Lexington ENT & Allergy

Why did you want to be a doctor?

I had an early love for science and I love people. It seemed like a natural fit. I’m very extroverted, and I also love the challenge of thinking through problems and “fixing” things.

Why did you choose ENT as your specialty?
I knew pretty quickly in my medical education that I wanted to do something surgical, but I also struggled with the fact that I wanted longer-term relationships. That usually doesn’t happen with a surgical specialty. ENT provided a good mix of those two things. I love the complex surgical aspects of head and neck surgery, and the relationships I have from treating patients medically over time.

What are your favorite parts of the job?
I love the diversity of ENT. We serve a wide variety of patients – from premature infants to the very elderly. Some are relatively easy problems like runny noses and some are very complex, such as advanced head and neck cancer.

What are some common problems that you see in your practice?
I commonly see kids and adults with recurrent ear infections, chronic sinus infections, tonsil problems, allergies and hoarseness.

What do you want patients to know about how to treat those problems?
Ear infections and sinus infections are common and can be difficult to treat. They both can be treated with medicines, but sometimes surgery is necessary.

Tonsil problems can range from ongoing tonsil infections to large tonsils that can cause sleep apnea and have a wide range of health and life effects.

Allergies are very complex and often require multiple visits to try to find the right combination of medications and allergy testing to help know to what things you are allergic.

There are multiple reasons for hoarseness, but anyone who has been hoarse for six weeks or more should have their voice box examined by an ENT, especially if they have a history of smoking.

Dr. Burkhalter is accepting new patients. For more information, visit the practice’s website.