Published: July 14, 2023

Debate Is Good Medicine

12 Great Debates at #OTOMTG23 present can’t-miss expert opinions on both sides of a controversial topic.

Cecelia Damask, DO, AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting Program Coordinator-elect

Great Debate (2021) Deintensification for HPV-Associated Tumors: Are We There Yet with the Current Literature? (Left to Right: Ezra Cohen, MD, FRCPSC, FASCO, and Cherie-Ann O. Nathan, MD. Not pictured is moderator Lisa Shnayder, MD.)Great Debate (2021) Deintensification for HPV-Associated Tumors: Are We There Yet with the Current Literature? (Left to Right: Ezra Cohen, MD, FRCPSC, FASCO, and Cherie-Ann O. Nathan, MD. Not pictured is moderator Lisa Shnayder, MD.)

Scientific debate is critical to medical progress. When it comes to change, the medical community is no different than the rest of the world in terms of reluctance. New discoveries could lead to the destruction of already firmly established ideas, with the opposition to change being fiercer the more entrenched the previously held theory. In 1849, Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian obstetrician, argued that the most effective way to lower the extremely high mortality rate of women during childbirth was for obstetricians to wash their hands. He faced staunch opposition from some of the most prominent physicians in Europe and was dismissed from his hospital job as a result. Slowly over the next few decades, Semmelweis’ doctrine slowly gained acceptance, even if many who adopted hand disinfection refused to admit it. Dr. Semmelweis is now considered the father of preventive medicine and sterile technique not only in obstetrics, but surgery in general.

Medical debate is thoroughly necessary for scientific progress. Some of the most innovative and effective treatments for patients have been born from healthy debate among experts. I am personally looking forward to the 12 Great Debates taking place at the AAO-HNSF 2023 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience with true experts presenting their opinions on both sides of a controversial topic.  As surgeons, we are always interested in the best surgical approach. Central to several of the debates this year are the best way to perform a technique, such as:

  • Otology is exploring open versus endoscopic technique for cholesteatoma removal.
  • Sometimes the questions center on whether or not to do surgery at all, as in this year’s pediatric otolaryngology debate exploring whether or not to drain an abscess.  

Work-life balance is important for all otolaryngologists, and we have professional and personal development exploring the following topic in this area:

  • Is charting outside of work hours acceptable?

I personally am most excited about the cross-subspecialty debates that are taking place for the first time this year.

  • We have laryngology and rhinology debating the dreaded patient complaint of “postnasal drainage.”
  • Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery is debating rhinology on the best approach to tackling nasal obstruction.

There is something for everyone at this year’s Great Debates. Early-bird registration closes July 31 so register today to save, and mark your calendars for this innovative and highly valued programming. I hope you will join me in listening to the following prominent thought leaders explore contentious issues in otolaryngology through structured debate.

Comprehensive Otolaryngology

Are We Over-Specialized? When Is Enough Training Enough?
Moderator: Andrew J. Tompkins, MD, MBA
Debate Speaker #1: C. Gaelyn Garrett, MD, MMHC
Debate Speaker #2: Ken Yanagisawa, MD


Cholesteatoma Resection: Role of Endoscopic Versus Open Approaches
Co-Moderator: Bruce J. Gantz, MD
Co-Moderator: Sarah E. Mowry, MD
Debate Speaker #1: John L. Dornhoffer, MD
Debate Speaker #2: George B. Wanna, MD


Great Debates: Eustachian Tube Balloons: Full of Hot Air?
Moderator: Devyani Lal, MD
Debate Speaker #1: Edward D. McCoul, MD, MPH
Debate Speaker #2: Dennis S. Poe, MD, PhD 

Professional and Personal Development

Work After Work, Is That Really OK?
Moderator: Sarah K. Wise, MD, MSCR
Debate Speaker #1: Dale A. Tylor, MD, MPH
Debate Speaker #2: Rahul K. Shah, MD, MBA

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Rhinology/Allergy

Septoplasty Versus Functional Rhinoplasty for Deviated Septum With Nasal Obstruction?
Moderator: David M. Yen, MD
Debate Speaker #1: Greg E. Davis, MD, MPH
Debate Speaker #2: Benjamin C. Marcus, MD

Sleep Medicine

Your Sleep Physician Should be an Otolaryngologist: A Pro/Con Debate
Moderator: Colin T. Huntley, MD
Debate Speaker #1: David T. Kent, MD
Debate Speaker #2: Katherine K. Green, MD, MS

Pediatric Otolaryngology

To Drain or Not to Drain: Controversies in Pediatric Abscesses
Moderator: Jeffrey P. Simons, MD, MMM
Debate Speaker #1: Samantha Anne, MD, MS
Debate Speaker #2: Matthew Thomas Brigger, MD, MPH 

Endocrine Surgery

Is Parathyroid Autofluorescence the New Operative Standard for Thyroid Surgery?
Moderator: Elizabeth E. Cottrill, MD
Debate Speaker #1: Maisie L. Shindo, MD
Debate Speaker #2: Amanda L. Silver Karcioglu, MD 

Laryngology/Brocho-Esophagology and Rhinology/Allergy

Mucous Wars
Moderator: Minka L. Schofield, MD
Debate Speaker #1: Thomas L. Carroll, MD
Debate Speaker #2: Sandra Y. Lin, MD 

Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

"Top Doctors:" Pros and Cons of Commercial Doctor Ratings
Moderator: Cecelia E. Schmalbach, MD, MSc
Debate Speaker #1: Carol R. Bradford, MD, MS
Debate Speaker #2: Andres M. Bur, MD

Head and Neck Surgery

ctDNA: Is It Ready for Prime Time?
Moderator: Jose P. Zevallos, MD, MPH
Debate Speaker #1: Daniel L. Faden, MD
Debate Speaker #2: Carole Fakhry, MD, MPH  

Business of Medicine/Practice Management

Implications of the FTC Proposal to Ban the Noncompete Clause
Moderator: Amy Y. Chen, MD, MPH, MBA 
Debate Speaker #1: Jamie Litvack, MD, MS
Debate Speaker #2: Bevan Yueh, MD, MPH
Debate Speaker #3: Kelly Malloy, MD
Debate Speaker #4: Marion Couch, MD, PhD

Stay up to date on all 2023 Annual Meeting programming information and news. Early-bird registration closes July 31, so register today to save!