The Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is recognized worldwide for its innovative research that has led to various clinical and technological breakthroughs. Our faculty, scientists and researchers, who comprise the Otolaryngology Research Program, are continuously seeking newer and less invasive treatments for numerous conditions affecting the ear, nose and throat.
With more than 85 active studies, the breadth of the Otolaryngology Research Program has grown exponentially over the past decade. Many of these investigations are funded by private donations and/or organizations, including the National Institutes of Health. Our philosophy is that no investigative question is too bold and no research goal is too lofty.
Some Otolaryngology Research Program highlights include:
- Performing the first ever in-human tracheal transplant at The Mount Sinai Hospital in 2021, which was backed by decades of research at the Head and Neck Cancer Research Program
- First robotic surgery performed for oropharyngeal cancers in the State of New York
- Studying the bacterial framework of the oral microbiome and its relationship to HPV (human papilloma virus) infection
- Deescalating radiotherapy and chemoradiotherapy post robotic surgery for patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (HPVOPC)
- Enhancing visualization during robotic surgery through Optical Imaging studies
- Launching a Thyroid and Environment study to better understand the impact of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and other environmental pollutants on thyroid cancer etiology by creating the Thyroid Research Database
- Discovering the ‘master switch’ gene that can program cancer cells to remain dormant
- First to perform a mastoidectomy utilizing the exoscope (enhanced surgical visualization ‘robotic arm’)
- Forging the CSF leak diagnostic technique CT/MRI fusion to avert the need for invasive localization studies
- Investigating post-COVID-19 studies on laryngeal complications and anosmia
Otolaryngology Division Research
Faculty members from each Division of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery participate in various studies in the pursuit of better understanding disease pathogenesis, improving patient outcomes and fostering new technologies and treatments to minimize or supplant invasive procedures. Below is more information about the Department’s robust research portfolio.
Head and Neck Cancer Research Program: For more than 20 years, the dynamic team of faculty, researchers, scientists and biologists has been dedicated to discoveries, insights and new treatment options to serve as a platform for rapid bench to bedside care. This Program was the foundation for the first donor tracheal transplant, the first robotic surgery for oropharyngeal cancers in the State of New York, and is one of the leading resources for dormant tumor cell studies and HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer research. The Program also focuses on cancer etiology with investigations assessing the potential impact of environmental pollutants and the microbiome on cancer risk.
Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: much focus among our facial plastic and reconstructive surgery researchers centers on facial nerve palsy/paralysis to better understand which treatments are best for specific patients. We are assessing outcomes with the help of video/photographic analysis to better understand how to personalize each patient’s needs. We are also investigating improvements to wound care and outcomes in rhinoplasty.
Grabscheid Voice and Swallowing Center/Laryngology: research in the Division of Laryngology encompasses post-COVID-19 tracheal complications, transgender outcomes, chronic cough, custom implants for laryngoplasty, chondrosarcoma surgery using rib grafting and free flap from the thigh, and behavioral therapy in the prevention of reformation of a laryngeal lesion or vocal cord polyp.
Ear Institute/Otology-Neurotology: at the Ear Institute at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, our pioneering faculty and researchers have forged innovation in technology, surgical approaches and outcomes. We were the first worldwide to perform a mastoidectomy using the “exoscope” (a robotic arm with enhanced surgical visualization) and are one of few otologic teams to offer endoscopic cholesteatoma, acoustic neuroma and glomus tumor removal. We are consistently among the first to test new hearing aids and implants and collaborate with various organizations to bring about less invasive and more precise treatments.
Pediatric ENT: ongoing investigations among our pediatric otolaryngologists include tonsillectomy, pain control post-tonsillectomy, airway disorders and laryngomalacia.
Rhinology and Skull Base Surgery: driven to discover, the Rhinology research team collaborates across various disciplines and startups to leverage technology to provide our patients with safer and less invasive surgical treatments and novel ways to mitigate pain. Numerous rhinology research studies are active including the impact of fish oil on post-COVID-19 patients with anosmia, 7-tesla MRI for sinonasal malignancies, gabapentin as a remedy to reduce postoperative opioid consumption and enhanced cancerous cell visualization with 5-Aminolevulinic acid.
Sleep Surgery: at Mount Sinai, our sleep surgeons are reputable for treating the most difficult cases of obstructive sleep apnea and studying and implementing innovative surgical alternatives to treat it. These efforts, backed by our Sleep Surgery Research, include serving as one of the first hospitals in New York to offer the Inspire therapy hypoglossal nerve stimulating implant and one of the first hospitals in the country to perform robotic surgery for sleep apnea. We, along with our Rhinology colleagues, are also investigating gabapentin as a pharmacologic agent to reduce postoperative opioid consumption.
Collaboration is a cornerstone of the Otolaryngology Research Program, both within the Mount Sinai Health System and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, as well as with external academic medical centers and organizations. We welcome contributions from researchers near and far with the goal of advancing and the betterment of patient care.