The National Congress of the Italian Society of Otolaryngology (SIO) took place in Rimini from 29 May to 1 June. The specialists of the Otolaryngology Unit of Humanitas, led by Professor Giuseppe Spriano, also took part in the Congress.

Many are the topics at the center of the Congress, such as head-neck, nose, paranasal sinuses and ear cancer surgery. Particular emphasis was given to the use of new technologies in the diagnostic and therapeutic field in Otolaryngology.

The Marzetti Prize to Dr. De Virgilio

During the Congress, the Associazione Otorinolaringologi Ospedalieri Italiani awarded the “Premio Marzetti 2019” prize, awarding the best video dedicated to cancer surgery among those presented at the Congress.

The winner was Dr. Armando De Virgilio, otolaryngologist at Humanitas. As Dr. De Virgilio explains, the video presents one of the top activities of the team of Otorhinolaryngology of Humanitas, or reconstructive surgery following the ablation of malignant tumors in the head-neck district.

The reconstruction with microvascular free flaps

“In cancer patients where the removal of a tumor neoformation is necessary in an area with important aesthetic and functional implications, the surgical part of reconstruction can be performed in different ways.

Reconstruction with microvascular free flaps is the most modern and effective method from an aesthetic and functional point of view. In an area of the body far from the site of the tumor, we take a tissue, which according to the reconstructive needs can consist of skin and subcutaneous tissue, muscle and/or bone. The tissue is removed together with the artery and vein that feeds it. The free flap thus removed is then used to reconstruct the area affected by the tumor and is connected to the vessels of the neck by means of a microvascular anastomosis, a microsurgical technique: the artery that nourishes the flap removed is connected to an artery of the neck and thus the vein,” explains Dr. De Virgilio.

Advantages of using the exoscope at Humanitas

Anastomosis is usually performed with the aid of a microscope, since blood vessels have a diameter ranging from 0.8 to 2 millimetres.

“At Humanitas, we have been experimenting with the exoscope as an alternative to the microscope for several months now, with excellent results: it is an instrument equipped with a micro-camera that reproduces the operating field in high-resolution 3D. The surgeon performs microvascular anastomosis exclusively by observing the monitor. This allows the entire team in the operating room to observe the surgical procedure in real time from the monitor, wearing 3D glasses, and ensures greater sharing that is not possible with the use of the microscope. The exoscope is also advantageous for instrumentalists who are able to follow the operation step by step and anticipate the offer of instruments to the first operator. At Humanitas we have already successfully performed ten cases of microvascular anastomosis with the exoscope”, concluded Dr. De Virgilio.