ENT Surgeons Sharpen Their Skills

Oct 7, 2022

35 fellows from 25 countries traveled across the globe to gather at Schloss Arenberg this week for the eighth annual Salzburg Weill Cornell Seminar in Otology and Temporal Bone Surgery, which took place from October 2 to 8, 2022. Expert surgeons in the field of Otolaryngology shared 15 didactic lectures with the fellows, including topics such as Lateral Skull Base Surgery, Cochlear Implantation, Surgery for Cancer of the Temporal Bone, and more.

The course was led by Dr. Samuel H. Selesnick, Professor and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Weill Cornell Medicine, who attended for the 17th time. Dr. Gerhard Rasp, Head of the Department of Otolaryngology at the General Hospital of Salzburg, co-led the course, marking his 23rd attendance at an OMI seminar. The faculty was concluded by Dr. Yuri Agrawal, Dr. Christoph Arnoldner, Dr. Nikolas H. Blevins, Dr. Cem Meco, Dr. Lawrence R. Lustig, and Dr. Sebastian Roesch.

What really stood out about this week’s course was the wet lab which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg. Fellows had the great opportunity to practice their surgical skills under the supervision of some of the field’s top surgeons. We are especially grateful to our vendors from MED-EL and Medtronic for providing and ensuring a smooth lab experience!

Additionally, Thursday and Friday gave fellows the opportunity to present cases from their own work experience, which always stems helpful discussion, advice, and input amongst the group and faculty members. Ten cases were chosen by the faculty as excellent case presentations, which will therefore be featured on the OMI’s online case library.

Amidst a full program, the fellows had a chance to breathe and relax on Thursday evening during the chamber music concert which was held at Schloss Arenberg. Friday afternoon provided the fellows with some free time to explore the city of Salzburg, network with one another, and reflect on all they had experienced and learned throughout the week. The Friday evening graduation dinner and ceremony, which includes the distribution of course certificates and a three-course meal, officially concluded the course.

The Salzburg Weill Cornell Seminar in Otology and Temporal Bone Surgery offers a state-of-the-art surgical learning experience held at an anatomy laboratory in Salzburg. The exceptional resources that enrich the learning experience include surgical quality microscopes, high speed electric microdrills, microsurgical instrumentation, and human temporal bones. Faculty provide one-on-one instruction to fellows from around the world. The first half day session focuses on surgery of the external auditory canal for stenosis or obstruction, middle ear surgery including ossiculoplasty to replace damaged bones of hearing, as well as stapedectomy to address conductive hearing loss due to otosclerosis. The second half day session begins with intact canal wall mastoidectomy to treat chronic mastoiditis and cholesteatoma, but also includes cochlear implantation used for the treatment of profound sensorineural hearing loss. The third half day session moves on to labyrinthectomy for vertigo due to Meniere’s disease as well as radical mastoidectomy. Some fellows may progress to skull base surgical approaches to the internal auditory canal and posterior cranial fossa via a translabyrinthine approach, most often used for the treatment of acoustic neuromas.

In groups of two, we shared a workstation, which was very well equipped with all the essential otologic instruments and tools needed for dissection. The first exercise was to perform a canalplasty, and afterwards, we raised a tympanomeatal flap and performed a stapedotomy. We even had the chance to practice with different pistons and prostheses for ossicular reconstruction. The faculty was always nearby, ready to guide us or answer our questions. Then we went on to perform an intact canal wall mastoidectomy with posterior tympanotomy. Dr. Arnoldner gave me some useful, practical advice on inserting the cochlear implant through the round window.
Valentinos Sofokleous, MD

OMI fellow from Cyprus/Greece

It was very good that the faculty members also were performing the dissection and the process was broadcasted on a screen, so that we could repeat the necessary steps accordingly. We were constantly under the care of the faculty, we could ask questions, and they helped us reproduce all the necessary steps of the surgeries on our own.

Maryana Cherkes, MD

OMI fellow from Ukraine

Looking back at this week, I learned so much about surgical procedures in temporal bone, its anatomy, some of the most common diseases and tumors in this area. I was honored to be here and meet new people from so many different countries.

Tatiana Haličková, MD

OMI fellow from Slovakia