Otolaryngology

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Otology/Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery Clinical Care

The Division of Otology/Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery within the Department of Otolaryngology is a destination center for conditions affecting the ear, including hearing, vestibular sensory systems and other related structures. One of seven nationally recognized institutions, IU School of Medicine is known for preserving facial nerve function in patients with very large vestibular schwannomas, or brainstem-compressing tumors.

Pioneers in Hybrid Cochlear Implants

A pioneer in cochlear implantation, IU School of Medicine faculty otologists have helped thousands of children and adults with profound deafness since 1978. Devices provide hearing for those who do not derive benefit from hearing aids. Hybrid cochlear implants are available to preserve residual low-frequency hearing in addition to improving word discrimination. As hearing is significant to neurocognitive functioning, more than 1,800 people with implant devices are monitored by the cochlear implant team. The long history of implant surgery and post-surgery analysis at IU School of Medicine has resulted with impactful research and leader in the field.

Proficient in Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks

Surgeons in the Division of Otology repair spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leaks, the highest volume in Indiana. Through academic research, faculty discovered a significant link between spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leaks and obesity. With the rise in obesity, otologists anticipate an increased number of patients with spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leaks. Ongoing studies within the division examine causes of this condition, including obstructive sleep apnea.

Collaborative Care

Otologists at IU School of Medicine are nationally recognized experts in long-term hearing preservation when patients face complex conditions in the ear and skull base. Novel techniques such as canal wall reconstruction are performed weekly to manage cholesteatoma. Compared to traditional techniques for removing ear growths, canal wall reconstruction allows for very low rates of recurrence, preservation of the normal ear anatomy, and avoidance of lifelong difficulties associated with a mastoid bowl.

Clinical services include

  • Hearing loss and obstruction
  • Cochlear implants in children and adults
  • Facial paralysis and facial nerve disorders
  • Squamous cell (skin) cancer of the ear
  • Spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks
  • Skull base cancers (schwannoma, meningioma, paraganglioma)
  • Ossicular chain reconstruction
  • Cholesteatoma and chronic ear disease
  • Revision surgery for complex otologic diseases

Otologists and Skull Base Surgeons

Charles W. Yates, MD

Charles W. Yates, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
Sarah J. Burgin, MD

Sarah J. Burgin, MD

Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
Rick F. Nelson, MD, PhD

Rick F. Nelson, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery