Report by Alexander Saxby, Consultant ENT Surgeon, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney University, Australia
It is hard to imagine a more perfect venue for the first international forum on Endoscopic Ear Surgery which was held in June, in the atmospheric ruin of the famous Virchow Lecture Hall, within the Medical History Museum of the famous Charité Hospital of Berlin. Partially destroyed by bombings during WWII, the lecture hall retains the essence of Rudolf Virchow, who gave so many of his landmark lectures within those very walls. It was, therefore, a fitting place to welcome keynote lecturers from around the world to talk on the subject of endoscopic ear surgery.
Inside historical lecture hall
The symposium was attended by otologists from around the world, and featured keynote lectures on endoscopic instrumentation, cholesteatoma, stapedotomy, myringoplasty and endoscopic lateral skull base surgery, as well as historical overviews on the development of this new method from founders of the technique, Prof Jean Marc Thomassin (France) and Prof Muaaz Tarabichi (UAE).
“The speakers’ contributions demonstrated that endoscopic ear surgery has clear and demonstrable benefits. An increasing number of ear surgeons and surgical centres around the world are using this innovative, minimally invasive surgical technique with great success. The excellent feedback means we will be holding another symposium on endoscopic ear surgery in future. The experience and expert knowledge gained from this symposium was very useful for all participants.” — Professor Dr. Serena Preyer, Chairman, EES/ECHO Symposium
Attendees had a chance to attend a wonderful tour of the historical medical museum which houses original examples of the first ever clinical endoscope, created by Berlin physician Dr Max Nitze (1877), plus a beautiful 19th century wooden model of a working ear with moving ossicles and leather tympanic membrane.
Rudolf Virchow, often referred to as the father of modern pathology, said in 1891: “Learn to see microscopically”. This symposium elegantly expressed an extension of that maxim, encouraging us all to “learn to see endoscopically!”.