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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 2-3

Research and innovation in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery in India

Director/CEO, AIIMS, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi; Chief Editorial Advisor, Indian Journal of Otology, India

Date of Web Publication11-Oct-2011

Correspondence Address:
Ramesh C Deka
Director/CEO, AIIMS, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi; Chief Editorial Advisor, Indian Journal of Otology
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-7749.85782

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How to cite this article:
Deka RC. Research and innovation in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery in India. Indian J Otol 2011;17:2-3

How to cite this URL:
Deka RC. Research and innovation in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery in India. Indian J Otol [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Dec 8];17:2-3. Available from: https://www.indianjotol.org/text.asp?2011/17/1/2/85782

I would here like to make few personal views and remarks through this editorial about the growth and development of our specialty during the last few decades. This is based on our experiences over the years in India and also based on our friends'/colleagues' research and innovation in the subject and their practice now.

  Background Top

The ear, nose, and throat (ENT) deals with the areas of the human body as the name implies, and has been accordingly practiced in India and worldwide as a subspecialty of Surgery for a long time, but later, it has become a full-fledged specialty. In most universities, postgraduate course is being offered in otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery (ORL-HNS) under a 3-year residency program in India. We have much experience in the field over the last 40 years. The specialty has emerged rapidly with new knowledge and advances in biomedical sciences and technologies, such as endoscopy, microsurgical equipments, and improved illuminating light sources with flexible fiber optics. A great expansion to the ENT has occurred during the last 4 decades in India. Furthermore, with improved anesthetic technology and transfusion medicine, ENT has expanded into a new wide specialty called ORL-HNS in India. It is now a recognized and highly sought after discipline for residency training in Indian Medicine. Besides the Association of Otolaryngologists of India, we have several other subdisciplines and its scientific bodies/societies, such as Skull base Surgery Society, Head and Neck Surgery/Oncology Society, All India Rhinology Society, Indian Otology Society, and Indian Academy of ORL-HNS. Professor R.C. Deka was president of most of these associations/societies and is currently the chair of the Indian Academy of ORL-HNS.

In India we have now several peer-reviewed Journals regularly published by the official associations/societies and also by other publishing houses/groups. The journals include Indian Journal of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Indian Journal of Otology, Indian Otology, and Journal of Rhinology to name few of them. Professor Deka was chairman and member of the scientific advisory committees of many of them and he made editorial contributions through these Journals.

  Research and Innovation in India Top

Over the last 20-30 years a significant research and innovative work in the field of ORL-HNS in India has been produced by members of our community of ENT experts and professionals. ORL-HN surgeons (ENT) are engaged in head and neck cancer surgery, which included about 1/3 of the body's cancer prevalence in India. They have large experience in successfully treating these patients in most medical centers and they collaborated with the Radiation therapists and medical Oncologists and Neurosurgeons. The quality of life of cancer patients after protocol-based therapy has significantly improved over the last 20 years in India, especially from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi (AIIMS). Other areas in which ENT-HNS experts have contributed are Rhinology involving cosmetic and functional surgeries for nose deformity, treating allergies in collaboration with Pulmonologists, Otology and Skull base surgeries collaborating with Neurosurgeons, and also rehabilitation of patients having speech and hearing disorders by innovation in hearing aids/devices and cochlear implantation surgery. The AIIMS faculty have produced pioneering work in cochlear implantation surgery in India and Professor Deka has been among the leaders in this field. ENT doctors in India are also engaged in basic research in collaboration with related group of scientists and experts to produce new knowledge in nasopharyngeal cancer and they have produced data on its relationship with Epstein-Barr viruses and also about oral and hypopharyngeal cancers, with human papilloma viruses. They have made innovative research works on other viral diseases, including the association of herpes virus with facial palsy and sudden hearing loss, bacterial and other issues involved in middle ear infection and also in paranasal sinus infection and its related maladies. They have also made innovative surgical practices in ORL-HNS, including endoscopic surgical procedures, such as endoscopic procedures for nasopharyngeal angiofibroma, other benign conditions of the nose, skull base areas, besides, chronic paranasal sinus diseases, such as allergic fungal sinusitis in which Prof. Deka has made a number of international presentations and publications. Endoscopic procedures, such as optic nerve decompression, pituitary tumor surgeries, and others have been extended to skull base surgeries. There has been a large volume of work done in the field of endolaryngeal microsurgery for voice disorders, since mid-1970s, and in the last 10 years we are engaged in thyroplasty and other external laryngeal framework surgeries for improving voice quality in Indian patients. We have also expertise in phonosurgery, including use of different types of LASER in ENT. There is also a society of Indian Phonosurgeons.

Through Indian practice-based experiences and innovative research data from their works, ENT experts and practitioners have significantly contributed to medicine during the last 30 years. Many of our colleagues have produced significant research works in tropical diseases in ENT and they were published in many Indian and also foreign Journals and books. There are over 5000 ENT experts/practitioners in India. India has about 370 medical colleges running undergraduate MBBS course, and at least about 200 of them are engaged in postgraduate (PG) courses in Medicine, including that in ORL-HNS.

AIIMS is one of the leading institute of national importance, established by an Act of Indian Parliament, in 1956, and it has a powerful teaching program in all branches of Medicine, including basic sciences. It produces a large number of scientists (PhD) and specialists (MD/MS) and superspecialists (MCh/DM). We have produced a large number of Cardiologists, Cardiac surgeons, Neurologists, Neurosurgeons, Transplant surgeons, Urologists, Nephrologists, and Endocrinologists besides other medical man power for the country. AIIMS has been engaged in research and innovative works and it produces over 1500 quality research-based publications each year. Research works, produced in AIIMS, have led to many national policies for health care improvement in India, such as use of iodized salt to prevent thyroid diseases in Indian people and more significantly, through this iodized salt program, improving the intellectual development of Indian children, and also many other health-related issues in which AIIMS has contributed significantly and the Indian Government has accepted them and implemented to improve the quality of life in Indian people. Indian government has successfully launched in the last 5 years a national rural health program and it has greatly reduced the infant/maternal mortality rates in India. The government has also launched a deafness control and prevention program in the lines of Indian blindness control and prevention program. These national programs have played a significant role in improving health parameters of Indian population.

  Summary Top

We have progressed significantly in the field of biomedical research and medical practice using modern technologies both at basic research level and at delivery of service, including quality patient care. Our universities and medical institutions have produced trained high-quality health care manpower resources in the last 20 years. The human resources from this specialty (ORL-HNS) have also greatly contributed to the growth and development of both health care practices and health sciences with regard to ORL-HNS field and made significant difference through relevant research and innovation in delivering quality care to the people of India. Their global contribution through research publications is also of significance. AIIMS, being a leading health care center and a leading Health Sciences University in India, has provided leadership in all these activities, especially in medical education. A significant number of its products are serving in many developed countries, such as the UK and the USA, besides providing services within India. They are holding important positions in health science universities and health care hospitals both in India and abroad.

I think our Indian doctors in general and Otologists/ENT experts, in particular, are equally placed with regard to their expertise in providing quality service to Indian and global people from their vast experience in dealing with a huge population in India. It is now time for us to collaborate in Research and Innovation with foreign/advanced countries, such as USA, UK, and others. I hope that Indian Journal of Otology will take initiatives in such efforts for publishing Indian work in American Journals and other foreign Journals.


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