BLA Annual Conference 2017: CONFERENCE REPORT

BLA Annual Conference 2017

The Larynx: Young and Old

Royal Society of Medicine, London
Friday 29 September 2017

‘Well done, brilliantly organised and excellent range of topics’

‘Excellent programme!’

‘Excellent guest speakers’

‘Excellent conference. Thought provoking and of practical value too’


The Larynx - Young and Old was at the heart of the discussion at the BLA’s recent Annual Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine on Friday, 29 September.

The day provided an excellent opportunity to review current best practice and also introduced new and exciting topics for future discussion.

The BLA is immensely grateful for the hard work of Council members Michelle Wyatt, BLA BAPO representative and Consultant Paediatric Otolaryngologist at Great Ormond Street, and Jonathan Fishman, Senior North Thames ENT Registrar and Honorary Clinical Lecturer at UCL, who were responsible for organising a most informative, interactive and inspirational meeting.

Speakers from the Netherlands, the USA and the UK led paediatric sessions in the morning and geriatric sessions in the afternoon. 

Highlights of the paediatric talks included a session by Alessandro de Alarcon, consultant paediatric ENT surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, on laryngotracheal reconstruction which has transformed the lives of babies with sub-glottic stenosis over the past forty years.

Fred Dikkers, Professor of Otorhinolaryngology at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, focused on congenital laryngeal anomalies and laryngomalacia, and Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital/Freeman Hospital Consultant Paediatric Otolaryngologist Steven Powell spoke on vocal cord palsy. Michelle Wyatt offered an elucidating talk on congenital laryngeal clefts.  Insights as to how best to manage these conditions were covered and a range of free papers on paediatric laryngeal issues followed providing an opportunity for UK-wide clinical research updates.  

Michael Johns, Professor of Otolaryngology and Director of the USC Voice Center at the University of Southern California, gave a wonderful lecture on the performing child’s voice - particularly relevant today with so many young people now encouraged to sing in a way that makes adult-like demands on the larynx.

Nikki Mills, Paediatric Otolaryngologist at the Starship Children's Hospital in Aukland, gave the second keynote lecture providing a completely fresh view of paediatric swallowing issues.  Her thoughtful and scientific approach was enlightening and her cine MRI videos of a baby feeding were remarkable. 

One of the great strengths of BLA meetings is the opportunity for speech therapists as well as doctors to present, and lectures from Vicky Thorpe and Lesley Cavalli from Great Ormond Street hospital gave informative talks reflecting their valuable experience and focusing on paediatric swallowing and nasal issues.

During the afternoon sessions the focus shifted to the other extreme of age and examined a range of laryngological conditions that affect an aging population.

A phenomenal keynote lecture on the changing voice in the elderly population was given by Professor of Otolaryngology and USC Voice Center Director Michael Johns who highlighted his experience of the condition and his preferred treatment options for prebylaryngis. This was followed by a talk by Elina Tripoliti, speech therapist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, about speech therapy techniques for patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple System Atrophy, with insight into Lee-Silverman Voice Treatment.

Sunil Verma - Director of the University Voice and Swallowing Center in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California (Irvine) School of Medicine - shared his experience of videofluoroscopy versus functional endoscopic evaluation of swallowing in the office diagnosis of dysphagia, outlining the advantages and disadvantages of each technique.

After coffee, King’s College Hospital Senior Lecturer in Stroke Medicine David Smithard shared his clinical and research experience of swallowing disorders in the elderly. The day culminated in a terrific talk by Rogan Corbridge, Consultant ENT Surgeon at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, on difficult pharyngeal pouches.

The much-anticipated David Howard prize was awarded to the following:

Best Oral Presentation: Anya Selwyn, University Hospital Lewisham: A 6 year retrospective review of 97 adolescent patients seen in a tertiary referral

Best Poster Presentation: Shaden Al Riyami, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle:Transnasal oesophagoscopy: diagnostic and management experience of in 490 patients with various upper aerodigestive complaints

On the day the BLA was delighted to welcome 180 ENT Surgeons, SLTs and laryngology-focused health professionals from across the UK, Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands, the USA, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, New Zealand and Qatar. 

The BLA is very grateful to its supporting partners:
Aquilant Endoscopy
DP Medical
Karl Storz – Endoscope
Neomed UK
Soluvos Medical
and Pentax Medical, sponsor of the excellent cheese and wine reception in the Royal Society of Medicine atrium, following the conference.

Conference sessions have been recorded and are available for members and delegates to view online.





The next BLA Study Day - Practical Skills in the Voice Clinic


The BLA:Practical Skills in the Voice Clinic will be held on Friday 10 February 2023 in central London (Welbeck Health, Wigmore Street).