Laser surgery and the dangers of button batteries: news from the UK’s National Ear, Nose & Throat conference

Last month BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders was at the 7th National Ear, Nose & Throat Conference in London, a meeting aimed at practicing consultants and senior trainees in the ENT specialty.

Organized by MA Healthcare limited and coordinated by Andrew Swift, the conference brought together experts from a range of otorhinolaryngology specialties. The format consisted of a series of individual specialty sessions followed by a panel discussion.

The first panel discussion, on ‘paediatric emergencies’, was led by Ray Clarke (Alder Hey Children’s Hospital). One of the topics discussed was the growing issue with ‘button batteries’. This type of battery seems to be particularly dangerous for children, as they can cause serious and irreversible damage even in a relatively short time. Although children swallow objects or put them in their nose or ears quite often, normally this does not cause immediate danger to their health. However, due to the reaction within the child’s body, button batteries can cause serious internal burns and should be dealt with quickly and without any delay. It is crucial that both parents and doctors are aware of the danger and act as soon as possible.

A very interesting talk was presented by Jeff Lancaster from University Hospital Aintree, who talked about using laser surgery to treat head and neck cancers. As new techniques become available they need to be carefully assessed for application in the treatment of different disorders. It seems that transoral laser resection could be particularly well suited for human papilloma virus related cancers of the mouth and offer patients better functional outcomes.

A wide range of talks were presented at the conference, covering many different aspects of clinical management of otorhinolaryngological disorders. Most of the presentations focused on an update on the management of specific diseases, so this was a great opportunity to brush up on specific knowledge and skills. Experts were happy to provide practical tips on managing specific cases and discussed the latest developments. The conference was a great success and we look forward to attending next year.


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