202-741-3417

WHY IS FELLOWSHIP TRAINING IMPORTANT?

What does it mean to be fellowship trained in Head and Neck Cancer, Microvascular Reconstruction, and Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery?

This means that the surgeon has undergone further specialization in thyroid and parathyroid surgery, beyond what is required during his/her standard surgical training program. The standard Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Residency takes 5 years to complete, and a fellowship in Head and Neck Cancer, Microvascular Reconstruction, and Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery takes an additional 1-2 years.

Being fellowship trained in an academic setting generally means that the surgeon treats head and neck cancer, thyroid and parathyroid disorders, and salivary gland disease almost exclusively.

Why is this important for you as a patient?

Head and neck cancer surgery, as well as thyroid, parathyroid, and salivary gland surgery, is technically demanding and demands a thorough understanding of anatomy, physiology, and up to date treatment techniques. If the surgeon has not kept up with recent developments in the field, you may end up receiving treatment intended for someone 10 years ago! This may lead to poorer outcomes for all those involved.

Additionally, fellowship training is usually required if one wishes to enter into academic practice to help teach medical students and train the next generation of medical students and resident surgeons.

Why is this important for you as a patient?

By being treated by an academic surgeon, in an academic environment, you will have access to the “state of the art” tools and facilities, and your case will be given the thoroughness it deserves. The usual hospitalized patient is seen 2-3 times daily, and has a team of 4-5 resident physicians/medical students who evaluate the care of the patient on a daily basis. During the clinic visit, you will be seen and evaluated by a student prior to the actual evaluation. Your case will be discussed during and after the visit to ensure that nothing has been missed. This may take a bit longer, but I can honestly say that every patient’s case is given the thoroughness that it deserves.