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Neurotology and Skull-Base Surgery Fellowship

About the Program 

UC San Diego School of Medicine offers an ACGME-accredited two year fellowship in neurotology and skull base surgery. The program involves advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the temporal bone and lateral skull base, with a special emphasis on surgical treatment of tumors involving these areas.  Advanced training is provided in the auditory and vestibular sciences, beyond that found in primary otolaryngology residency.  Fellows will have the opportunity to work as part of multidisciplinary teams involving neurotologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiaologists, and other related specialists.

Our goal is to prepare our trainees to excel as clinicians, researchers, and educators. Fellows are exposed to a large and diverse patient population at the institutions served by the faculty including UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center, UC San Diego Medical Center, Kaiser San Diego Medical Center, VA San Diego Medical Center, and Rady Children's Hospital.  The curriculum includes dedicated time for research activities.  Fellows develop their skills as surgical educators through their interactions with residents and medical students.

Goals & Objectives

Clinical Highlights

  • High volume lateral skull base including a balanced mix of translabyrinthine, retrosigmoid, and middle fossa approaches; as well as combined petrosal, far lateral, pterional, and other approaches. Fellows are actively involved in tumor dissection and graduate with approximately 250 lateral skull base tumor cases.
  • Neurofibromatosis type II program exposes fellows to complex treatment decision-making, auditory brainstem implant cases, and large volume surgical practice in adult and pediatric patients
  • Active participation in advanced otology cases including stapes, chronic ear, exostoses, canal atresia, and superior canal dehiscence and other vestibular surgery
  • Cochlear implant practice with exposure to all three major manufacturers and including revisions, pediatric cochleovestibular malformations, infant implantations, and implantation concurrent with labyrinthectomy
  • Opportunity to mentor residents on dedicated otology and neurotology rotations
  • Temporal bone dissection lab opened in 2021 with modern, operating room-quality equipment and flexible access including evenings and weekends.
  • Monthly neurotology conference

Research Highlights

  • High clinical volume sustains impactful clinical research and opportunities to be involved practice-changing clinical projects.
  • Resources including research education and training, study organization and management services, data management and analysis, and research funding is available through Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute. 
  • San Diego is among the nation's leaders in the technology and innovation sector. Neurotology faculty are well-funded with R01 NIH grants and have established industry collaborations on various translational science initiatives, affording opportunities to learn from and participate in innovation at all stages.
  • Opportunities to collaborates with the Department of Research and Evaluation at Kaiser Permanente including epidemiologic and health services research
  • Research-focused residency program that includes a dedicated research year attracts residents who are keen to contribute and have the time to do so.

Training Sites

jacobs medical center

UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center

Jacobs Medical Center is a 364-bed advanced medical center opened in 2016. Jacobs Medical Center includes a 36-bed intensive care unit and 10 operating rooms with a four-OR intraoperative imaging suite.

koman family outpatient pavilion

Koman Family Outpatient Pavillion

Clinical and surgical facility where outpatient otology cases are performed opened in 2018. The facility includes eight surgical suites.

la jolla veterans affairs medical center

La Jolla Veterans Affairs Medical Center

The VA Medical Center is located just 1 mile from Jacobs Medical Center, and the fellow has the opportunity to participate in otology cases approximately 1 day per month.

kaiser permanente san diego medical center

Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center

This 321 bed facility, opened in 2017, and adjacent Viewridge Medical Offices comprise the sites for skull base care at Kaiser Permanente.


dr. jeffrey harrisJeffrey P. Harris, MD, PhD, FACS
Department Chief
Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology and Neurological Surgery Skull-Base Surgery

rick friedmanRick A. Friedman, MD, PhD
Professor of Surgery
Acoustic Neuroma Program

elina kariElina Kari, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Otology, Neurotology Skull-Base Surgery

quyen nguyenQuyen T. Nguyen, MD, PhD
Professor of Surgery Otology, Neurotology Skull-Base Surgery