BUSINESS PROFILE: St. Cloud ENT
Dr. Truitt has been helping patients at St. Cloud ENT for 23 years
By Jim Palmer
In almost every person’s life, they will need to deal with an ailment that affects their ears, nose or throat. When those problems reach a certain level of discomfort or concern, patients are steered toward an otolarayngologist, more commonly referred to as an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.
“The ear, nose and throat areas can be affected by many things—particularly allergies, injuries, viruses, foods, cigarette smoke and so on,” said Theodore Truitt, MD, an otolaryngologist at St. Cloud ENT. “Those areas are interconnected.”
Because of the connection between the three, a problem in one area can have a major impact on one or two of the other areas.
“For example, a sinus infection can cause ear infections and cough, and large tonsils and adenoids can cause ear fluid and sleep apnea,” said Truitt. “It’s important to have a physician who can not only figure out what is causing problems in the head and neck region but knows how all of the areas interact and are interrelated.”
Dr. Truitt is one of six ENT physicians at St.
Cloud ENT, a private single-specialty clinic located in St. Cloud with outreach clinics in Alexandria, Little Falls, Sauk Centre, and Staples. Dr. Truitt sees patients at both the St. Cloud and Staples clinics, and performs surgeries at the St. Cloud Surgical Center, Lakewood Health System, and the St. Cloud Hospital.
Several ailments can arise in the head and neck region, and St. Cloud ENT is staffed with highly experienced providers for each specialty. A very common one that tends to happen as we age is hearing loss.
“With hearing loss, the most important thing is that people need to know where they are at with their hearing,” he said. “It is much better to be checked earlier rather than later, as it is easier to treat mild hearing loss than it is to treat moderate or severe hearing loss.”
Dr. Truitt explained that hearing loss can be caused by a variety of things, including exposure to loud noises, trauma to the ear or head, fluid or wax buildup, a tumor, or simply for genetic reasons. Aside from the challenges that hearing loss causes in a person’s daily life, it can also impact overall health in many other ways. If left untreated, hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline, increase the risk of dementia, decrease socialization, and even lead to depression and other mental issues. St. Cloud ENT is staffed with five audiology providers who specialize in hearing loss diagnosis and treatment. They provide customized solutions based on a patient’s individual needs.
Another common ailment that doctors see at St. Cloud ENT is nasal congestion.
“Nasal congestion naturally becomes more prevalent as we get older,” said Truitt. “There are often problems with nasal drainage out the front of a patient’s nose or down the back of their throat. And it can be a chronic condition that may require medical treatment.”
Over the years, much has changed in medicine, both in treatment techniques and available options. And that definitely holds true in an ENT clinic. Some of these changes are small and subtle, and some are significant changes with a larger impact.
“The biggest advances in our field that have changed how we treat patients would be the availability to use novel nose, sinus, and ear devices to treat patients in the office instead of incurring the risks, costs, and recovery from anesthesia,” said Truitt. “This includes balloon dilation of the sinus openings, reducing the size of swollen tissue in the nose and placing implants into the side wall of the nose, to allow patients to breathe better. There is also a way to place tubes in very young children in the office. All of these technologies have been life-changing for the patients we see.”
Dr. Truitt noted that many of the changes in treatment have resulted in fewer complications, fewer expenses and a quicker recovery.
“We now have equipment and instruments that have been able to move some treatments from the operating room to the clinic,” he said.
And sometimes, it is even easier than that. Take the treatment of nasal polyps, for example. Dr. Truitt explained that advances in medications and immunotherapies have resulted in fewer steroid shots or surgeries for polyps, and some patients can often treat them in the comfort of their own home.
Whatever the ailment, Dr. Truitt and the team of providers at St. Cloud ENT look to diagnose and then cure or improve the patient’s symptoms. Their goal is always to put the patient on a more comfortable path. And the first step is making an appointment at St. Cloud ENT.
“Many times, patients don’t know they have a problem, or don’t know that there are things we can do to help them,” he said. “Once they’ve decided to come to my office, there is recognition that something isn’t right, or a certain threshold of intolerance has been reached.”
After identifying the problem, Dr. Truitt explains the diagnosis to the patient and starts treatment. When patients start seeing progress, there is a huge sense of relief.
“It is very satisfying,” he said. “Doctors can’t fix everything, but they should be able to explain what is going on and offer some solutions. When a solution results in a huge improvement in quality of life, that feels good.”
And sometimes, a small fix can do wonders.
“There are some simple things that we can do that can be life-changing,” said Truitt. “Sometimes the patient has struggled with symptoms for many years, and it is a simple problem that can easily be treated.”
He also added that small changes in lifestyle can make an impact on issues in the head and neck. These include getting more exercise, drinking more water, and quitting smoking.
The team at St. Cloud ENT is very tenured, with long-term, dedicated employees. Dr. Truitt has been with the clinic for 23 years. Prior to that, he received his undergraduate at Vanderbilt University (biomedical engineering), earned his doctorate at Indiana University School of Medicine, and completed his residency at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. After residency, Dr. Truitt was looking for a landing spot, and St. Cloud ENT checked all the boxes.
“There were many different things that I looked for when I was deciding where to practice,” he said. “It is important to me to have independence from the hospital and health system, live in a community where my children will get a great education, be able to foster innovation to make a difference, join an established practice with many nice and competent doctors, and feel at home with kind, fun office staff. As the only private ENT group in town, we have a unique ability to provide excellent patient care by partnering with a neighborhood outpatient surgical center and local hospital. All of what I was looking for was found at St. Cloud ENT. I couldn’t ask for a better setup.”
New patients at St. Cloud ENT are referred by primary doctors or other specialists in the area. St. Cloud ENT’s main clinic is located in St. Cloud. To learn more about St. Cloud ENT and their providers, or to find directions to the outreach locations, visit their website, www.stcloudent.com. To make an appointment, visit their website or call 320-252-0233.
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