In Australia, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons awards specialist surgeons the letters ‘FRACS’ which means that the surgeon is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. This distinction is awarded to surgeons who have completed medical and surgical education with at least five years of specialist post-graduate training. This fellowship, for Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons in Australia, is in general Ear, Nose and Throat surgery covering a number of areas. Some surgeons will further sub-specialise in particular areas such as ear and skull base surgery. These fellowships are dedicated to the small group of surgeons who undertake further study and experience in very specialised centres that have an international reputation and often are led by a pioneering clinician. These renowned centres are referred the most complex surgery, have special expertise and undertake research of outcomes and other topics, as well as surgical education.
Professor Atlas has undertaken fellowships in his career, in the prestigious ear and skull base surgery units in Cambridge, United Kingdom (David Moffatt) and Sydney, New South Wales (Paul Fagan), Pittsburgh (Mark May). His international reputation in ear and skull base surgery has allowed him to lead his own fellowship programs in Sydney and at Ear Science Institute Australia in Perth, that have trained over 24 fellows that have travelled from around the world.
In Australia, there are very few such specialised centres in ear, cochlear implant and skull base surgery. For important and delicate ear surgery, patients and referrers should seek a surgeon with further specialist fellowship training at these specialist centres in the world.