An enormous progress happening in the recent years in audiology and otology has armed the surgeons specializing in treatment of hearing impairments with therapies and technical devices allowing them to help virtually all patients, regardless of the type and degree of hearing impairment. An important breakthrough in this field had been a concept and program of Partial Deafness Treatment (PDT) developed and implemented into clinical practice by Prof. Henryk Skarżyński (first reports on this subject had been presented in 2000, on the international conferences and congresses in Antwerp [ESPCI] and in Berlin [EFAS] and first cochlear implantations in partial deafness Prof. Skarżyński had performed in 2002 [adult patient] and 2004 [child]). The PDT method had enabled widening of cochlear implantation criteria to include patients who earlier had not been able to be helped – people with profound or total hearing loss in high frequencies and relatively good hearing in low frequency range.
An ear surgeon who wants to provide a good standard of car to his patients must keep abreast of international scientific publications and constantly improve his qualifications participating in courses, workshops and conferences. Window Approach Workshop WAW in Kajetany is a unique training opportunity, as it allows studying cochlear implantation in partial deafness ‘at the source’ – under the direction of Prof. H. Skarżyński, the author of the PDT program. This is why for more than 10 years it has been enjoying an invariably high popularity among the surgeons from the entire world, both from centers starting their cochlear implant programs and the experienced otosurgeons looking to improve their qualifications.
In the 27th WAW workshop participated 24 doctors from centers in Russia, Ukraine, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Austria, and a large group of doctors from Poland. An exceptionally bad luck had a group of seven surgeons from Turkey, who could not come to Poland because an extremely large snowfall in Turkey had closed the Istanbul airport. We wish them better luck next time!
The scientific program of the 27th WAW Workshop was made up of 3 parts: lectures, demonstration surgeries and hands-on training in the laboratory. The lectures were traditionally presented by the experts from the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing and the invited lecturers from among the best international authorities in implant-related fields. In the preset edition such exceptional guest was Prof. Klaus Böheim from the St. Polten Clinic of the Innsbruck University, widely universally recognized as an authority on the subject of active middle ear implants.
Strong emphasis during the WAW workshops is placed on the practical aspect of training. The World Hearing Center is unique in this regard as it offers the opportunity of watching ‘live’ demonstration surgeries conducted by Prof. H. Skarżyński and the team of the Oto-rhino-laryngology Surgery Clinic of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing. Only a few centers in the entire world are able to offer such possibility, both because of technical means (the modern World Hearing Center has the unique equipment allowing transmission of image from the operating microscope to training and conference rooms and specially equipped unique observation room which enables viewing the surgical theater), and, more importantly, because of the personnel capabilities – such surgery is the extreme challenge for the operating surgeon whose smallest move is subjected to the evaluation and critique of knowledgeable observers and for the whole surgical team who must show the highest level of experience and professionalism. In this light it is no surprise that other surgical teams are not eager to perform demonstration surgeries. After all they cannot match the team of the Oto-rhino-laryngology Surgery Clinic of the Institute in terms of performing daily the largest number of hearing improving surgeries in the world!