What's in a name? To some, the name otolaryngology-head and neck surgery might seem unnecessarily long and full of self-importance. It was chosen however to encompass the incredible breadth of the field. Otolaryngology (ō’tō-lar-ing-gol’ŏ-jē), commonly referred to as ENT (ear, nose, & throat) or Otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, combines both medical and surgical treatments to cover a broad range of conditions of the head and neck region.  Essentially, it involves all areas from the clavicles up, excluding the eye and spine, and with a few exceptions, remains outside of the dura; “from pleura to dura”.  We frequently even harvest free flaps from the limbs, abdomen, or back to reconstruct parts of the head and neck!

Medical School: 4 years, although a small percentage of applicants will choose to take an additional year to perform basic science/clinical research or to obtain another degree, such as an MPH or MBA. MD/PhD's will take an additional 3-6 years to obtain a PhD.

Residency: US residency programs in otolaryngology consists of a minimum of 5 years of training.  The first year, the intern year, is comprised of a series of rotations within different specialties as mandated by ACGME (minimum 5-months in at least 3 of the following: general surgery, thoracic surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, or surgical oncology; mandatory 1-month in each of the following: emergency medicine, critical care, anesthesia, neurosurgery; additional maximum of 3 months in otolaryngology).  The following four years are dedicated to graduated training within the specialty.  The final year of education culminates in a requisite chief year. A handful of academically-geared residency programs include an additional 1-2 years of basic science/clinical research, bringing the total to 6-7 years. 

Fellowship: 1-2 years, however the majority of otolaryngology residents across the country do not pursue a fellowship. Most fellowships are 1 year, with the exception of otology/neurotology/skull base surgery, which is usually 2 years. However, academically-geared fellowships may be up to 2 years. Fellowships (and corresponding societies) include: