Children experience many of the same health issues as adults, but the way conditions present themselves can be very different. Pediatric ear, nose and throat specialists with University of Minnesota Physicians (M Physicians) understand the unique responsibility of caring for pediatric patients.
Working collaboratively with interdisciplinary experts, M Physicians otolaryngologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions, from sinus disorders and ear infections, to tonsillitis and facial plastic surgery. This expertise and skill set is invaluable when caring for patients with these conditions.
Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
Each year, nearly one in 900 babies are born in the U.S. with some form of cleft lip (the separation of the upper lip) or cleft palate (a split in the roof of the mouth). As one of the most common birth defects, children born with cleft lip and cleft palate face many challenges, including increased risk of ear infections, speech and language delays, feeding difficulties and dental problems.
Luke Jakubowski, MD, M Physicians pediatric otolaryngologist facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, specializes in treating the most complex cases.
In most instances, diagnosis of cleft lip and cleft palate happens through an ultrasound before the baby is born. During prenatal consultations, Dr. Jakubowski meets with the parents to discuss the best options for each child.
“You really are working with and partnering with the parents to take care of children and get everyone on board with the best treatment plan. Whether that’s medical or surgical, it’s important to ensure they’re involved. Parents want what’s best for their child and we’re on that team as well. We work with them until we get the outcome we want."
Luke Jakubowski, MD, Pediatric Otolaryngologist Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon
By collaboratively working with parents during such a vulnerable and scary time, Dr. Jakubowski knows how important the role of communication is in order to help to alleviate stress for both baby and parents.
Jon Thomas, MD, M Physicians otolaryngologist, works with both adults and children, but loves his job for simple reasons. “I love kids. Kids are just fun and they’re great to deal with each day. It’s gratifying to help people get through their medical health problems. That’s why I wanted to be a doctor—to help people,” Dr. Thomas said.
Ear infections are one of the most common and avoidable infections in children. Dr. Thomas has the solution. “The lining from your nose through to your ear is essentially the same, so the goal is to get the tunnel open. Many intuitively think that a tube is used to drain fluid, but it is generally to create airflow. The ventilation process is what actually reduces the risk of an infection. Almost always an infection in the ear doesn’t start in the ear—it starts in the nose,” he says.
The comprehensive M Health Fairview Maternal Fetal Medicine team, which includes Dr. Jakubowski, manages all aspects of the pediatric airway. This becomes critically important for babies with prenatally diagnosed airway obstruction.
Strong examples of this are evident in children with large head and neck masses, such as a teratoma (a benign growth in the head or neck) or a lymphatic malformation. When these conditions are present an EXIT (ex utero intrapartum treatment) procedure is needed to safely deliver the baby.
Babies remain connected to their mother by the umbilical cord during the procedure while specialists like Dr. Jakubowski establish an airway. Once the airway is created, the baby is delivered. The process is extremely complicated and time-sensitive. Surgeons like Dr. Jakubowski are surrounded by an interdisciplinary team of specialists from obstetrics to anesthesiology.
Experts in Specialized Care
In situations where a surgical intervention is required, pediatric ENT physicians step in to provide relief for issues that would persist without their specified knowledge. Many primary care physicians lean on pediatric ENT specialists like Dr. Jakubowski and Dr. Thomas because their knowledge is adept to positive outcomes. They act as tertiary care providers when complex issues arise and they are poised to deliver when called upon.
To make an appointment with a children’s ear, nose and throat specialist, contact one our experts.
Park Plaza Building
701 25th Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Provider Referrals: 612‑365‑8300