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RSM prize winner Vinay Varadarajan – an update

Mr Vinay Varadarajan, awarded an RSM Ellison-Cliffe Travelling Fellowship in December 2016, will be learning about pioneering surgery that allows the removal of benign and malignant tumours from the base of the skull when he travels to Vancouver later this year. Currently in the UK, this is an area of practise which is just beginning to become established.

About the surgery

Traditionally otolaryngologists would treat tumours below the skull base and neurosurgeons would treat tumours above it. Tumours at the actual skull base always provided a therapeutic challenge as they were deep and difficult to reach and spanned both specialties.

With collaborations between otolaryngologists and neurosurgeons working as a team of “skull base surgeons” these tumours can now be safely reached and tackled. The tumours are accessed through the nasal passages and sinuses using modern telescopic (endoscopic) technology.

Future aims

After spending a year as an advanced endoscopic skull base fellow at the highly respected University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Mr Varadarajan’s aim will be to return to the UK to set up a comprehensive tertiary rhinology and endoscopic skull base surgery service for NHS patients.

Currently a Post CCT Rhinology Fellow at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Mr Varadarajan chose the Vancouver fellowship over several other funded fellowships in Belgium, Australia and Canada. This was because of the high level advanced training offered to UBC Rhinology and Endoscopic Skull Base Unit fellows. “I want to receive the best training at the best centres so I can bring these skills back for the benefit of NHS patients”, he says.

By bringing the training he receives in Vancouver back to the UK he hopes to be in a position to train other surgeons in what he has been taught, as well as treating his patients with international level care.

He says: “I would like to personally thank Dr Carice Ellison for her generosity in sponsoring this award as well as the RSM for organising these types of funding opportunities. It allows doctors like me to pursue their dreams and bring high quality international experience back to the UK”.


The £15,000 RSM Ellison-Cliffe Travelling Fellowship covers expenses for travel abroad, to one or two centres, in pursuit of further study, research or clinical training. For more information visit www.rsm.ac.uk/prizes-awards

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