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CENTRAL KENTUCKY Multiple surveys have declared that Central Kentucky is one of the worst areas for allergies in the United States. The National Center for Biotechnology Information points out Kentucky’s high rate of smoking makes it a hotbed for oral cancer. Kentucky also ranked in the “Top Ten Most Obese” states, and obesity is one of the largest risk factors for sleep apnea. Considering these factors, having access to comprehensive otolaryngologic care is crucial. Luckily, Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists is providing just that.

ENT Specialists is made up of founder and senior partner Ron Shashy, MD; partner Chadwick Ahn, MD; and physicians Robert Wilson, MD, and Jessica Lange, MD. In addition to their work with ENT Specialists, the group treats patients within the KentuckyOne Health system and holds clinics at Saint Joseph East, Frankfort Regional Medical Center, Georgetown Community Hospital, and the ENT Center in London. All four physicians are board certified otolaryngologists, trained to diagnose and treat a multitude of issues. Shashy describes their practice as treating “any problem that’s north of your clavicle, south of the brain.”

Those conditions run the gamut in both patient population, which ranges from neonatal to the elderly, and in severity, which can be as simple as an ear infection or as serious as oral and throat cancers. In between are issues such as thyroid disease, hearing loss, vertigo, tonsillitis, skin lesions, sinus problems, and trouble swallowing.

“Most people don’t realize all that we do,” says Ahn. “We are truly full-service.” Two of the most prevalent complaints involve nasal problems from allergies and accompanying chronic sinusitis, and sleep disorders. Three of these lesser known services include skin lesion removal and reconstruction; hearing evaluation and hearing aid fitting; and allergy testing.

The ENT’s repeatedly stressed that both common and chronic ear, nose, and throat conditions that affect quality of life can been treated and corrected. “Most people think they just have to live with these annoying and debilitating conditions. We can fix or greatly reduce many ear, nose, and throat problems,” says Shashy, “and really improve a person’s quality of life.”

Meet the Team

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in economics, Shashy joined the United States Army where he flew Blackhawk helicopters. Upon completing his military service, Shashy attended medical school at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and then completed an ENT residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Ahn graduated from Transylvania University in Lexington, received his medical degree from UK College of Medicine, and then completed an internship in general surgery and residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Wilson graduated from West Virginia University as an undergraduate and completed medical school at West Virginia School of Medicine in Morgantown, West Virginia and took his residency at the University of Kentucky. He joined the practice in 2013.

Lange graduated from the University of Louisville undergraduate and the UofL School of Medicine, completed her residency at the University of Mississippi in Jackson, and joined the practice in 2017.

What’s New in Otolaryngology

When it comes to severe allergies, Rob Wilson saw the impact first-hand. He witnessed how his mother, a longtime allergy sufferer, was impacted on a daily basis. Therefore, he is thrilled to able to offer patients new alternative treatments. “Two big advancements in the last five to ten years have been in topical sinus rinses that contain anti-inflammatory medicines and new advancements with internasal stents that contain anti-inflammatories that we’re able to place within the nasal cavity,” says Wilson.

There are also sinus advancements on the surgical front with the balloon sinuplasty (BSP), which uses a small, flexible, balloon catheter to open blocked sinus passageways. It requires no cutting and is performed in-office.

Due to the trend toward endoscopic procedures, many surgeries can now be performed in-office. According to Ahn, “Patients really prefer it. When you can save them a lot of money by doing a procedure in the office, most of them will choose that, any day of the week.”

Another issue that greatly impacts a person’s ability to function is lack of sleep. Shashy, who holds additional board certification in sleep medicine, says, “Sleep apnea is highly underdiagnosed.” He states that it presents “a huge cardiovascular risk factor for many people.”

ENT Specialists has the ability to diagnose and treat a wide array of sleep disorders, and technology is leading the way.

According to Lange, “One of the things patients really enjoy and that I think is going to continue to blossom is their ability to monitor their own health with smart phones and electronic devices. With our sleep apnea patients, they’re able to download an app which shows how many pauses an hour they had the night before while using their machine.”

In the future, Shashy plans to offer the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulator, a revolutionary obstructive sleep apnea treatment that is FDA approved. Inspire is a fully implanted neurostimulation device for patients for whom continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has been abandoned.

All the physicians at ENT Specialists are driven by their desire to improve patient’s lives. Wilson states, “From patients who have chronic dizziness and imbalance, to people with recurrent nose bleeds, to those with chronic sinus infections, to children with recurring tonsil infections… we’re really able to improve our patients’ quality of life.”

To this end, they are committed to gaining new knowledge and master new techniques to meet patient needs. “I feel it is important to use every bit of new information we have coming out to give patients the best standard of care,” Lange states.

Shashy sums it up by saying, “The one thing you can plan on is that, just as we’re different now than we were three years ago, I guarantee that some things will be different one year from now. And, three years from now, it will be drastically different. You just have to prepare for that.”