What We Certify

Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery

A specialist in this field, called an otolaryngologist – head and neck surgeon, focuses on the head and neck area. They provide medical and surgical therapy for patients with diseases, disorders and injuries of the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. 

An otolaryngologist - head and neck surgeon may treat:

  • The ear, for example: Hearing loss, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise (tinnitus), genetic disorders of the inner and outer ear, and tumors of the ear or base of skull.

  • The nose, for example: Nasal cavity and sinuses, smell disorders, nasal polyps or obstruction such as deviated septum, nosebleeds, plastic and reconstructive surgery of the nose (rhinoplasty), and tumors of the nose, sinuses and base of skull.

  • The throat, for example: Diseases of the voice box (larynx) and the upper swallowing passage (pharynx and cervical esophagus), as well as voice, taste, and swallowing disorders, and tumors affecting this region.

Otolaryngologist - head and neck surgeons also treat many ailments and illnesses that involve a combination of the above, including but not limited to allergies, infections, trauma, deformities, tumors (cancerous and benign), snoring and sleep apnea, dizziness, issues related to the immune, endocrine (thyroid and parathyroid), or nervous systems, and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

It has been said that otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons treat all conditions “from the dura to the pleura” – signifying from just below the brain to just above the lungs and in front of the cervical spine.

Neurotology

A neurotologist is a subspecialist within otolaryngologisy - head and neck surgery who has completed additional accredited training and passed an exam focused on diseases of the lateral skull base and temporal bone region. These subspecialists work at the interface of the dura and beyond, commonly collaborating with neurosurgeons.

The neurotologist should have command of the core knowledge and understanding of:

  •  the basic medical sciences relevant to the temporal bone, lateral skull base and related structures; the communication sciences, including knowledge of audiology, endocrinology and neurology as they relate to the temporal bone, lateral skull base and related structures.

  •  advanced diagnostic expertise and advanced medical and surgical management skills for the care of diseases and disorders of the petrous apex, infratemporal fossa, internal auditory canals, cranial nerves and lateral skull base (including the occipital bone, sphenoid bone, temporal bone, mesial aspect of the dura and intradural management), in conjunction with neurological surgery.

Sleep Medicine

Sleep Medicine is covered on the initial certification process for otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and many diplomates in the primary specialty take care of patients (adult and children) with sleep disordered breathing problems. ABOHNS diplomates that become subcertified in Sleep Medicine have extra training and focus their practice on the diagnostic, medical, and surgical needs of sleep medicine patients. The sleep medicine specialist should have command of the core knowledge and understanding of the basic medical sciences relevant to normal sleep and sleep disorders; advanced diagnostic expertise and advanced medical management skills for the care of diseases and disorders of patients with sleep disorders.

To become subcertified in sleep medicine, an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon must undergo ACGME-accredited fellowship training and then pass a written exam. The ABOHNS is one of six co-sponsoring ABMS boards for subcertification in sleep medicine.

Complex Pediatric Otolaryngology

A complex pediatric otolaryngologist (CPO) is an otolaryngologist - head and neck surgeon who has special expertise in caring for infants and children. The “complex” label indicates that either the child’s disorder is complex, or the disorder is common but occurs in a child with other kinds of complex conditions as well. This specialist often teams up with other specialists in pediatric institutions to provide multidisciplinary care to their patients. Pediatric otolaryngology is covered on the initial certification process and most children with otolaryngology-head and neck surgery disorders can be treated by diplomates with primary certification. For a position statement endorsed by ABOHNS, AAO-HNS, and ASPO describing what is covered in Complex Pediatric Otolaryngology as compared to primary certification in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

To become a subcertified in CPO, an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon must undergo fulfill eligibility requirements through the training or practice pathway. The practice pathway option will be open until 2030.