Meet Dr. Lawrence Lustig, Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians

This post is part of a clinic feature series, where we highlight doctors and clinics who offer the Oticon Medical Bone Anchored Hearing System, the Ponto.

Dr. Lawrence Lustig, MD,  is one of the nation’s leading experts in hearing loss

Dr. Lawrence Lustig, Otolaryngologist-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Lustig is the chair of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and otolaryngologist-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Today, Dr. Lustig’s mission at New York City at Columbia University Medical Center & New York Presbyterian Hospital is to build a practice of the very best otolaryngology clinicians and research scientists.

He treats the full spectrum of ear disorders in adults and children, as well as skull base disease. His specialties include skull base surgery, Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHS), cochlear implants, the genetics of hearing loss, cochlear gene therapy, surgery for chronic otitis media, balance disorders, and hair cell physiology.

Dr. Lustig has led several research projects that examine the underlying causes of hearing loss, including a recently completed two-year grant to explore cochlear gene therapy as a potential approach to treating children born with genetic forms of hearing loss.

He has published more than 125 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He co-edited the textbook, “Clinical Neurotology: Diagnosing and Managing Disorders of Hearing, Balance and the Facial Nerve.” He also teaches medical school classes, mentors otolaryngology residents, and supervises postdoctoral fellows.

Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS) is a suture free surgery that leaves no scarring and is designed to minimize post-op complications and deliver more improved cosmetic outcomes compared to earlier techniques.

With almost 20 years of experience and dozens accolades and awards under his belt, we wanted to sit down with Dr. Lustig to hear about his experience with offering bone anchored hearing solutions. And, we couldn’t wait to hear more about his experience as one of the first doctors on the east coast to perform Oticon Medical’s new Minimally Invasive Ponto Surgery (MIPS) procedure.

Here’s What We Heard from Dr. Lustig

How did you first get interested in Otolaryngology?

“When I was a medical student I first heard of cochlear implantation—that’s when I decided I wanted to go into the field.”

How long have you been working with Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHS)? 

“I’ve been working with BAHS since my fellowship at Johns Hopkins. While there, we published the first multi-center series on Bone Anchored Hearing Systems (BAHS).”

Do you see an increase in the number of people turning to BAHS as a solution?

“In the past, it was a small but small but steady number of people who received BAHS. The number of patients definitely ticked up when we started doing them for single-sided deafness (SSD), and the number of people who became candidates really jumped. Cochlear Implants are more ubiquitous, but bone anchored implants are an easy procedure, and work terrific for the right indication.    Although we do see that it’s becoming more widespread.”

Can you tell us a bit about your first reaction to the MIPS procedure?

“The procedure for putting in the osseointegrated implants has been evolving over the past 20 years.

When I first started doing these, we were shaving a large portion of the skull, really thinning the skin.  We were having problems with the skin and percutaneous reactions. Then, we went to a linear incision and that really reduced the post-op skin reactions and facilitated the healing process.

The cannula ensures the correct drilling depth while protecting the surrounding soft tissue. It also enables adequate cooling.

Then, most recently, several clinicians introduced the punch technique and that made it even simpler. The issues with the punch technique were that sometimes when the skin was too thick, you could not clearly see down to the skull, and you the surrounding skin could get caught up when you’re doing the drilling. When I saw the protective cannula that was developed by Oticon Medical for MIPS I was really excited because I knew the procedure would be greatly simplified.



What was your first experience doing the MIPS procedure like?

“Our MIPS patient was a female adult with single sided deafness. The procedure was very simple. I instantly loved MIPS. I think it also helps patients overcome some of their anxiety about surgery when they find out the procedure is so incredibly simple. Going forward I am excited to be using the MIPS, it’s so easy.”

Do you have other questions about MIPS? Let us know in the comments section below, or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you’d like to speak to an Oticon Medical Audiologist about connecting with a clinic that performs MIPS in your area, click the button below and we can connect you.

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