Dr Sean Flanagan manages the department’s database of skull base tumours, the most common being vestibular schwannomas. The department is running a prospective analysis of the management of vestibular schwannomas (acoustic neuroms; tumours that arise from the nerve of hearing and balance). This involves both the analysis of the growth rates and hearing outcomes of conservatively and surgically treated tumours. Patients once diagnosed are enrolled in the study if they wish. As part of the study a series of quality of life surveys are administered every year, along with formal hearing tests and repeat MRI scans. If treatment is required then analysis of outcomes is performed, with ongoing follow-up with quality of life surveys, hearing examinations and MRI scans. This study is conducted under the auspices of the St Vincent’s ethics department.
Further research includes histopathologic analysis of the tumours that need to be surgically removed in order to further advance our understanding and optimise management and quality of life of patients with these tumours.
Collaborative research is being conducted with the Department of Neurology, Hearing and Balance at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, as well as multi-centre studies analysing the outcomes in cochlear implantation and Meniere’s Disease.
The St Vincent’s Hospital ENT and Skull Base Surgery Department convene the St Vincent’s Hospital Temporal Bone course yearly in November. This course involves live surgery, supervised dissection and lectures aimed at qualified ENT surgeons as well as advanced ENT trainees.
The department also runs a yearly audiology conference which includes live surgery and lectures aimed at audiologists to expand their knowledge base and to enhance the relationship between ENT surgeons and audiologists.
The members of the department run fortnightly multidisciplinary radiology and pathology meetings as part of the departments primary goal in maintaining world class standards as a tertiray referral centre for otology, skull base surgery, rhinology and head and neck surgery.