Robin Bigelow, MD is a House Institute second-year Neurotology Fellow. This competitive program is designed to advance education beyond that of an otolaryngology residency in the diagnosis and management of disorders of the temporal bone, lateral skull base, and related anatomical structures. Fellows receive comprehensive training in extradural skull base approaches and postoperative care of lateral skill base surgery patients. As Dr. Bigelow’s fellowship nears its end, we asked him to reflect on the experience of his last two years.
What have you learned about caring with patients with cochlear implants?
I have enjoyed participating in the full range of patient experience with cochlear implants, from the initial patient consultation, to their pre-op visit and counseling, to extensive experience working with the attendings in the OR, to follow up and activation with the audiologists. I appreciate the great working relationship we have with our audiologists and how we can ask each other about patients we are seeing in clinic.
What have you learned about the cochlear implant surgery?
Working with Drs Luxford, Peng, and Slattery, as well as with doctors at UCLA, I have seen different techniques and styles for cochlear implantation. It is great to be able to speak to Dr. House and Dr. Brackmann about the development of cochlear implants as well, as much of the early work on cochlear implants was done at House. It has been invaluable to receive historical perspective about how the devices, surgical techniques, and patient eligibility criteria have changed over the years.
What are you most excited to take on to future patients when you are finished with your fellowship?
I am excited to finally finish training 12 years after finishing college. I am looking forward to seeing my own patients with the full spectrum of otology/ neurotology issues, from simple otitis externa to cochlear implant candidates to complex lateral skull base tumors, and feel like I will be well prepared after fellowship at House. I appreciate the relationships I have built here as well and am happy to know I will have multiple people I can call for advice with complex or unusual patients.