Andrew Blitzer, an otolaryngologist at the New York Head and Neck Institute and a member of the ALA council, agreed that the status of laryngology is on the rise-a sharp turn from the days when he finished his residency in the late 1970s. At the time, he met with his mentor about what he wanted to do next, and told the mentor about his growing affection for laryngology.
Explore This IssueAugust 2009
He said, ‘Why?’ Dr. Blitzer recalled. Everything you need to know was written by [laryngology pioneer] Chevalier Jackson in his classic textbook in 1935. He drew beautiful pictures, he shows you all the diseases. There’s nothing else to say about it, except maybe reconstruction in patients with cancer of the larynx.’ And I said, ‘You know, the trouble with that book is it didn’t move,’ a reference to the subtleties of movement of the vocal folds.
The field has evolved, Dr. Blitzer said. We now have new tools and we now have new understanding. It’s not lumps and bumps anymore. But it’s the whole physiology and pathphysiology of the vocal cord that has evolved, by a lot of very smart people getting involved in laryngology because there were a lot of unanswered questions.
Dr. Blitzer said the renewed interest in the field also has to do with the simple need for a good job. If you want to go to a reasonable-sized city and find a job, and you have a fellowship in laryngology, you’ll find it, the jobs are there, he said. Why? They’re coming out with these technologies. They know how to do these things that these guys in practice don’t know how to do, and if they’re going to compete against the people in town, they have to have the latest technologies in their groups.
He added, It’s a very exciting time for us, because we’re getting some of the brightest residents applying for fellowships.
©2009 The Triological Society