Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery

Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery (ORL-HNS) is a dynamic and broad specialty encompassing the anatomical region between the base of the skull and the thoracic inlet. Otolaryngologists are surgeons highly experienced in the medical and surgical management of diseases of the ear, nose and throat (ENT), and the associated structures of the head and neck. The subspecialties include head & neck surgical oncology, benign head & neck surgery, otology, neurotology, skull base surgery, paediatric otolaryngology, rhinology, facial reconstructive surgery, laryngology and thyroid / parathyroid surgery. In conjunction with diagnostic and medical work, ORL-HNS surgeons undertake microsurgery, open soft tissue surgery (resection and reconstruction), and endoscopic surgery.

Otolaryngologists work either as generalists or subspecialists in a specific field. Surgery undertaken includes thyroidectomy, cochlear implantation, head & neck cancer resection and reconstruction, skull base surgery, salivary gland surgery, complex airway surgery, facial reconstructive surgery, mastoidectomy, endoscopic sinus surgery, rhinoplasty, and the provision of tracheostomy services for intensive care. Emergency work ranges from conditions such as head and neck infections, epistaxis and removal of foreign bodies through to the urgent treatment of airway obstruction and penetrating neck trauma.  

Click here for an information leaflet on the specialty.

ORL-HNS Training in the North West

The ORL-HNS higher surgical training programme in the North West of England is highly regarded among trainees owing to the intensity of the case load and the coverage of the subspecialties of ORL. Registrars are exposed to training opportunities through rotation between the secondary care and tertiary referrals services. The programme is managed by Health Education North West and spans Liverpool & Manchester plus surrounding towns. Options for training in research, medical education and NHS management are available. The programme has enjoyed an ( almost) 100% pass rate in the Intercollegiate FRCS Examination for several years with a number of registrars receiving the FRCS gold medal for the best national exam performance. 

Dissection and Simulation

A number of cadaver dissection courses are available in the North West. Bookings on the temporal bone virtual surgery simulator can be made here.

The Subspecialties

Head and Neck Surgery

Otology and Neurotology

Rhinology and Facial Plastic Surgery

Paediatric Otolaryngology


Training Requirements

The national requirements for training in Otolaryngology can be found at the following sites:

The Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP) and Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)

Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST) requirements for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT)