Report by: Ali Sameer Mallick PhD FRCS (ORL-HNS), ST8 in ENT - Head & Neck Surgery, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK
After spending much of the COVID-19 pandemic attending endless virtual meetings, it was refreshing to attend the inaugural Birmingham Minimally Invasive Head & Neck Surgery Symposium 2022 face-to-face with colleagues once again.
The two-day event was split between Transoral Laser Microsurgery (TLM) and TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) as well as covering endoscopic head and neck surgery. On the first day, we were treated to a supreme faculty of experts including Paul Pracy (Birmingham), Jeff Lancaster (Liverpool), Jason Fleming (Liverpool), Katharine Davies (Liverpool), and Jai Manick (Dundee). The faculty discussed their experiences candidly, complementing this with numerous high-resolution video demonstrations depicting the plethora of TLM applications in head and neck cancer treatment. The day culminated with a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) TLM panel discussion of real clinical cases led by Jeff Lancaster from his extensive Aintree experience, followed by an informative lecture on swallowing outcomes post-TLM from Camilla Dawson (Birmingham).
Birmingham Minimally Invasive Head & Neck Surgery Symposium Faculty (L-R): Sarah Healy, Vin Paleri, Asit Arora,
George Garas, Mriganka De, Jason Fleming, Jeff Lancaster, Katharine Davies, Liz Ross, Ajith George.
The second day focused on TORS, with an equally prestigious faculty to complement the first day. George Garas (Birmingham) started the day with a historical overview of TORS and its technical evolution before discussing key pre-clinical (cadaveric) and clinical studies to optimise patient selection for TORS. Ajith George’s (Stoke) lecture followed with a sublime multimedia session on the ‘inside out’ transoral surgical anatomy through a combination of cadaveric endoscopic dissection videos and virtual reality anatomical software demos. His passion for anatomy is definitely contagious!
Asit Arora (London) and Vin Paleri (London) both shared their experiences as national leaders in TORS through a series of engaging lectures on their established practices, followed by Liz Ross’ (Stoke) important lecture on the complications of transoral surgery and informed consent.
Robotic surgery video session (L-R): Jason Fleming, George Garas, and Mriganka De.
The MDT TORS panel discussion led by Vin Paleri was particular entertaining and, similar to the first day’s MDT expert panel, included valuable Speech & Language Therapy (SLT) interdisciplinary input from Susan Germain (Birmingham). The symposium closed with Dae Kim (London) discussing transoral endoscopic thyroid and parathyroid surgery.
Overall, this was a fantastic event and the organisers must be congratulated for putting together such an esteemed and diverse faculty in a hybrid format attracting delegates from all over the world including the UK, Greece, China, India, Pakistan and Australia! We very much look forward to the next symposium, which will be held in Birmingham, UK in 2023.