by Mona Patadia, MD , FAAOA
I completed my rhinology fellowship in 2011 and was anxious, yet excited, to explore job opportunities. I found the perfect fit at a Chicago institution. It was my dream job as a rhinologist in an academic setting. It came with one caveat: I was to restart our Otolaryngology Allergy department. I was elated at the job opportunity, but with one minor problem: I had minimal knowledge of Otolaryngic Allergy. The AAOA was a lifesaver. I attended any and all courses through the AAOA including the basic and advanced allergy course. The AAOA was pivotal in setting me up with connections in the Chicagoland area as well. Soon, I had a good understanding of the basic concepts and had an academy to reach out to for any questions. I was well equipped to start our Otolaryngic Allergy practice from the ground up and continued to hone my skills and knowledge over the years.
Today, nine years later, I am thrilled to see that ever so common “nasal congestion” or “recurrent sinusitis” or “severe allergy” patient. I enjoy taking the patient history, performing the head and neck exam/possible endoscopy, followed by reviewing any possible imaging. I am able to consolidate that information and present patients with knowledge and options on their medical care. Patients appreciate the holistic approach of offering surgery only when needed, but also reviewing and discussing the role of allergic rhinitis and possible options of subcutaneous or sublingual immunotherapy either before their surgery, after their surgery or instead of surgery. I am equipped to provide more realistic expectations for my patients whom I have repaired a nasal septum or nasal valve by identifying the role of allergic rhinitis prior, and reminding them postop that they may continue to need medical management. I am able to inform patients of possible allergies when the nasal endoscopy reveals polypoid tissue off the head of the middle turbinate. I am able to have a higher suspicion for immune deficiencies or low pneumococcal titers contributing to recurrent acute sinus infections or pneumonias. Patients are thrilled that their problems will be worked up in our office. They appreciate the thorough evaluation of all aspects of their Otolaryngologic complaints
I am forever grateful for the AAOA and the tools they provided me with to provide excellent and holistic care to my patients. I continue to enjoy the AAOA as a source of continual knowledge and drive to advance our amazing field of Otolaryngic Allergy.