Service Director

Joseph M. Bernstein, M.D.

The division of Pediatric Otolaryngology at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is at the forefront of treating infants and children with ear, nose and throat conditions. Our expert physicians care for a wide range of disorders following the latest accepted guidelines and utilizing the most advanced technologies available.

Our patients present with ailments that range from common infections of the ears, nose and throat to rare and complicated congenital conditions of the head, neck and airways. Every patient and family receives a thorough evaluation and medical and surgical options are discussed. A treatment plan is recommended following evidence-based medical information while keeping the family engaged in the decision making process. At the core of every recommendation is a family-centered philosophy with the conviction that physicians and families are partners in making the correct decision to meet each child’s needs.

The care of children with disorders of the ears, nose and throat has been a priority of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary since it opened its doors in 1820. A high level of specialty care is coordinated by Dr. Joseph M. Bernstein, the Director of the Pediatric Otolaryngology Division. Multidisciplinary care is provided through a team approach with pediatric experts from a broad spectrum of disciplines, including: Anesthesia, Audiology, Intensive Care, Neonatology, Otology, Plastic surgery, Radiology, Sleep medicine, Speech and language Pathology, and others.

Commonly Performed Operations

EAR TUBE SURGERY - Ear infections, also known as otitis media, are very common among children. Ear infections can be caused by bacteria or viruses. If an ear infection lasts for a prolonged period of time or if your child has multiple complicated ear infections in a short period of time, ear tube surgery may be appropriate. Ear tubes, also known as tympanostomy tubes, are small tubes that allow more normal movement of air behind the eardrum and may reduce the number of future ear infections. Ear tube surgery may also be performed when your child has a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum. This fluid is often associated with hearing loss and may lead to speech and language delays.  The insertion of ear tubes allows for the resolution of the middle ear fluid with an improvement in hearing and can prevent future buildup of pressure and fluid.

TONSILLECTOMY AND ADENOIDECTOMY - Tonsils and adenoids, located in the back of your throat, help protect your body from infections by trapping germs that enter through your mouth and nose. Often your tonsils and adenoids themselves become infected. Frequent severe infections in the tonsils and adenoids may suggest a need for a tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy, surgeries in which your child’s tonsils and/or adenoids are removed to reduce further infection.  A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may also be performed if your child’s tonsils and adenoids become enlarged and affect their breathing during sleep. Often the enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids causes snoring and brief stops in the pattern of breathing while sleeping, called apneas. Removal of the tonsils and adenoids in such cases can allow your child a better night sleep.

PEDIATRIC SINUS SURGERY - Sinuses are air filled cavities located in the bones of the face. The sinuses can become infected or inflamed, a condition known as sinusitis. These infections are caused by a blockage of the natural drainage openings of the sinuses. Such blockages can occur when your child has a cold, flu, allergies or bacterial infection. If your child has recurrent sinus infections over a short period of time, has had a complicated sinus infection or has chronic sinusitis that does not resolve with medical therapy, sinus surgery may be discussed as an option to reduce further infection.

PEDIATRIC SLEEP APNEA SURGERY - Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when your child’s breathing becomes partially or completely blocked repeatedly during sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by blockage of the upper airway during sleep. Common symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring as well as frequent awakenings from sleep. Prolonged symptoms may be associated with behavior changes and cognitive deficits. Blockage of the upper airway that causes sleep apnea in children is most often the result of enlarged tonsils and adenoids. However, other areas of your child’s anatomy may also cause the obstruction.  A careful evaluation is required in order to arrive at the appropriate medical or surgical intervention.

PEDIATRIC NECK MASS SURGERY - A congenital neck mass is a growth in the neck that is present at birth and may become more noticeable as the child gets older. These masses are usually benign in children though it is important that they be evaluated. Neck masses arising later in childhood can have variable presentations and locations in the neck and their underlying cause needs to be determined. A thorough consultation is required in order to determine the appropriate medical or surgical intervention in each case.

ANKYLOGLOSSIA (TONGUE TIE) - Tongue tie is a condition of the mouth that decreases the mobility of the tongue. The tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth by a band of tissue called the frenulum. When this band of tissue is too short or tight, the tongue is not able to move properly. This can result in feeding problems shortly after birth and in speech problems at an early age. When necessary, a procedure cmay be performed, called frenuloplasty, in which the frenulum is released in order to allow for improved movement of the tongue.

Commonly Treated Conditions

Ear Infections
Hearing Loss
Perforated Ear Drums
Foreign Bodies
Cysts and Pits
Congenital Malformations

Nasal Obstruction
Deviated Septum
Nose Bleeds
Nasal Fractures and Trauma
Foreign Bodies
Nasal Masses
Choanal Atresia

Enlarged Tonsils
Enlarged Adenoids
Sleep Apnea
Breathing Problems
Speech Problems
Swallowing Problems
Voice Problems
Tongue Tie
Cleft Lip and Palate
Velopharyngeal Insufficiency (VPI)

Enlarged Lymph Nodes
Draining Pits
Lymphatic Malformations
Vascular Anomalies

Noisy Breathing
Vocal Cord Paralysis
Foreign Bodies





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