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Department of Otolaryngology
VCU’s Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery is proud to be one of only a few academic medical institutions nationwide with a dedicated smell and taste center.
Our experienced faculty evaluate and treat patients who have lost their sense of smell or taste due to instances like a head injury, exposure to hazardous materials, nerve damage or a viral infection such as COVID-19. The extensive evaluation process is about more than just a medical diagnosis – it's also about supporting patients and validating the underlying problem.
After a thorough examination, we recommend treatment when possible and discuss ways to compensate for a loss of taste and smell such as noting expiration dates on perishable foods, trying different spices and flavors, regularly changing smoke detector batteries and savoring the remaining healthy senses.
To further understand these disorders and improve treatment options for patients, many of our faculty are actively involved in both clinical and laboratory research.
Richard Costanzo, Ph.D. and Daniel Coelho, M.D., are developing an olfactory implant system to treat patients with anosmia (loss of smell). The technology applies the concepts of brain stimulation to restore sense of smell, similar to the method in which a cochlear implant restores hearing.
Costanzo and Coelho received funding from the MEDARVA Foundation, and they intend to conduct human pilot studies to further their proof of concept.
ENT faculty are conducting ongoing quality of life studies on patients with anosmia, with an active, regularly updated database that can be used for future research studies.
Theodore Schuman, M.D.