Event Details
Date: 18 June 2023 - 22 June 2023

Location name: Sofia, Bulgaria

Location address: National Palace of Culture, Bulevard "Bulgaria", 1463 Ndk, Sofia, Bulgaria


 Folk music and dance performed by the Academic Folklore Ensemble from Plovdiv. Picture credit: Monique Kooijmans.

Therese Schembri, Resident Otolaryngologist, Mater Dei Hospital, Malta. 

The European Rhinologic Society (ERS), the International Society of Inflammation and Allergy of the Nose (ISIAN) and the International Rhinologic Society came together to organise a superb five-day congress entitled The Freedom to Breathe

Around 1300 rhinology specialists and trainees from all over the world gathered to hear top specialists talk about recent advances in rhinology and skull base surgery and updates on the medical management of common rhinology pathologies.

The congress was sponsored by
pharmacological and medical device companies, such as Medtronic and Storz, which exhibited their products at the National Palace of Culture, the imposing building where the congress was held.





Emeritus Professor Valerie Lund with prizewinners Marta Kwiatkowska (above) and Claudio Montuori (left) 
Picture credit: Monique Kooijmans


These companies also gave daily satellite symposia regarding their products, their usage and results found in their clinical trials. 

On the first day, two masterclasses were given by established rhinologists Dr Renuka Bradoo, Professor Paolo Castelnuovo, Professor Hesham Saleh and Dr Fazil Apaydin who conveyed the important steps in rhinoplasty and frontal and sphenoid sinus surgery. These sessions were targeted especially towards junior otorhinolaryngologists.

The day ended with a delightful opening ceremony organised by the Bulgarian Rhinologic society which immersed the crowd in Bulgarian culture and involved lively folk music and dance performed by the Academic Folklore Ensemble from Plovdiv. 

Over the subsequent three days, there were many talks about rhinoplasty, septoplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery along with their associated complications and how they can be dealt with, paediatric nasal conditions, tumours and chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).

Trending topics were novel treatments such as biologicals or steroid-impregnated sinus implants, both of which can be used to treat CRS with nasal polyposis. One session which left an impact on me, being a junior, was entitled focus on septal surgery’. The specialists leading the session imparted some interesting tips and tricks regarding septorhinoplasty, including ways of performing the procedure endoscopically. 

Left: Rik Van Der Lans. Picture credit: Monique Kooijmans.

Many otorhinolaryngologists in training were given the chance to present their research in the daily abstract sessions. Getting a chance to present to distinguished rhinologists in such a large event encourages juniors, who are the future of otorhinolaryngology, to attend such congresses 

The evenings were jam packed with social events organised by the Bulgarian Rhinologic Society. There was a dinner at the imposing National Museum of History which was originally the presidential residence of Todor Zhivkov. Guests were treated to live music throughout the meal and could visit the serene gardens and some of the exhibits at any time. A typical Bulgarian dinner gave delegates a taste of the country at Chevermeto restaurant. A gala dinner, which was accompanied by live music, was held at the prestigious Sofia Balkan Palace hotel.

The last day centred on a competition between the rhinologic societies around the world. Each society presented its research and the judges picked the most compelling presentations, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

The Australian and New Zealand Rhinologic Society were rewarded first prize in their category and the judges spoke very highly of their session. The day ended with a beautiful reception at the picturesque St Sofia golf course. 

The 30th congress organised by the European Rhinologic Society has already been announced. It will take place in the fantastic, historic city of Budapest in Hungary in June 2025 

Picture credits: Monique Kooijmans.


Congratulations to Professor Claire Hopkins who has been appointed Secretary General of the European Rhinologic Society.

Prof Hopkins is Consultant ENT Surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK and a former president of the British Rhinological Society, as well as President Elect Rhinology Section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

She is pictured (left) at the congress with outgoing Secretary General Wytske Fokkens and Professor Hesham Saleh.