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Mayo Clinic ENT faculty conduct a surgical procedure.

The Otolaryngology Residency includes one year of general surgical training (PGY-1) and four years of specialty training in otolaryngology (PGY-2 through PGY-5).

Clinical training


Otolaryngology residents are required to participate in a mandatory year of basic surgical training at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona. This year is structured so that you are trained in the fundamental principles of surgery with relevance to the head and neck. During this year, you are exposed to preoperative, operative and postoperative management of general surgery patients.

Assignments during this year include rotations with general surgeons, in an emergency medicine and trauma department, in plastic and reconstructive surgery, on a critical care service, and in vascular surgery, neurologic surgery, thoracic surgery, endocrine surgery (two months), anesthesiology, and otolaryngology and head and neck surgery (three months).


During the second year, you are assigned in tutorial fashion to a faculty member (one-on-one). You receive comprehensive training in otolaryngologic diagnostic procedures, perform most minor surgical procedures, and assist with or primarily perform major operations depending on your skill level. You are given the opportunity to develop and refine your clinical skills in medical history evaluation and head and neck examinations.

During this year, you spend three months on a focused pediatric head and neck surgery rotation at Phoenix Children's Hospital. You are also in rotations in general ear-nose-throat, audiology, allergy and immunology, and sleep medicine, as well as receive hands-on instruction in speech therapy.


During the PGY-3 year, you are able to demonstrate preoperative, operative and postoperative care of patients with common otolaryngologic diagnoses and head and neck, otologic, and maxillofacial trauma episodes.

It is expected that you perform complete histories and head and neck examinations on the patients seen in the clinic and order appropriate diagnostic tests. As you progress through the rotations, you are increasingly responsible for the preoperative evaluation, preparation and postoperative follow-up of patients. Once you have demonstrated reasonable familiarity with various surgical techniques, you progress to performing more-complex portions of the operations.

During the PGY-3 year, you are required to spend three months participating in a research project of some significance aimed at publication and presentation at regional, national or international meetings.


You continue to gain knowledge regarding the broad spectrum of otolaryngologic, head and neck disease processes. You also continue to broaden your experience in the areas of laryngology, otology, rhinology and anterior skull base surgery, head and neck surgery, as well as plastic and reconstructive surgery.


The chief resident year focuses on all plenary aspects of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery. As chief resident, you are responsible for all activities on your service under the supervision of faculty. Responsibility for patient care, teaching and administration teaching requires the chief resident to develop judgment and the ability to work with fellow residents as well as staff.

As chief resident, you run your own surgical service, have your own clinic calendars, and see patients under the supervision of the faculty. You are fully responsible for the evaluation, diagnosis and therapeutic management of the patient.

Call frequency

While on the otolaryngology rotation, call is from home and averages one in five nights. All other call schedules follow that rotation's call schedule. Mayo Clinic follows the recommendations of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.


Moonlighting is not permitted during the Otolaryngology Residency.

Didactic training

Clinical conferences, seminars, small discussion groups, journal clubs and one-on-one instruction are integral parts of the Otolaryngology Residency.

You have weekly one-hour didactic educational sessions year-round. This core curriculum covers a variety of adult and pediatric topics from these major areas:

  • General otolaryngology
  • Laryngology and head and neck
  • Otology and audiology
  • Pediatric otolaryngology
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Rhinology and allergy

These didactic presentations are made primarily by staff consultants together with colleagues from pathology, endocrinology, allergy, pulmonology, gastroenterology and pertinent basic science fields.

You participate in a weekly clinical conference dealing with diagnostic problems, morbidity and mortality cases, and pathology. As a PGY-1 resident, you are welcome to attend this conference as your schedule permits. Attendance is required during PGY-2 through PGY-5.

You also have the opportunity to take introductory and laboratory courses in:

  • Cardiac life support
  • Head and neck anatomy
  • Maxillofacial trauma
  • Microsurgery of the ear and temporal bone dissection
  • Principles of audiometry, electronystagmography and rhinomanometry
  • Rhinologic surgery
  • Head and neck reconstructive surgery

You are encouraged to complete a microvascular surgery course and participate in microvascular reconstructive cases.


Weekly conferences

  • Head and neck tumor board (including pathology)
  • Basic science conference
  • Core curriculum and clinical management

Monthly conferences

  • Morbidity and mortality
  • Journal club
  • Head and neck radiology
  • Laryngology rounds

Annual courses

  • Temporal bone anatomy and surgery
  • Head and neck anatomy
  • Head and neck reconstruction

Research training

You are encouraged to publish your work in prominent otolaryngology journals. You are also encouraged to present your clinical and basic science work at regional, national and international meetings.

Teaching opportunities

Opportunities are available for you to teach rotating residents and medical students.


To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop the appropriate technical skills to meet program expectations, your performance is monitored carefully during the Otolaryngology Residency. You are formally evaluated by supervising faculty members on a regular basis and meet with the program director to review these evaluations. In addition, you regularly evaluate the faculty to confirm that your educational needs are being met.