Practice Contact Information
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Starling Loving Hall – Room B221, 320 West 10th Avenue
Areas of Interest in Head and Neck Surgery
Head and Neck Research, Head and Neck Surgeon, Medical Oncologist, Reconstructive Head & Neck Surgery
In April 1, 2011, Dr. Carrau joined the Department of Otolaryngology-Head &
Neck Surgery Department at The Ohio State University as tenured Professor
in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Director of the Comprehensive
Skull Base Surgery Program and Co-Director of the research and education
laboratory ALT-VISION (Anatomy Laboratory Toward Visuo-Spatial Innovations
in Otolaryngology and Neurosurgery; Co-director Dr. Daniel Prevedello,
Department of Neurosurgery). The Comprehensive Skull Base Surgery
Program is part of the Head & Neck Oncology Division at The James Cancer
Hospital and the Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University
Medical Center (O.S.U.M.C.) with strong ties to the Divisions of Rhinology and
Neuro-Otology. In addition, he was tasked with the organization, development
and promotion of the Sialendoscopy and Salivary Disorders Program; and,
in conjunction with Loni Arrese, CCC-SLP, the Swallowing Disorders
Ricardo L. Carrau, MD, F.A.C.S., was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico on January 6 of 1959. Dr. Carrau is married to Silvia C. Batezati-Alves and has two daughters Diana Daled and Janet Lorraine. He is fully bilingual in English and Spanish, has conversational skills in Portuguese and basic skills in Italian and French.
Education and Training:
Dr. Carrau completed his under-graduate and medical education at the University of Puerto Rico. He then completed his residency in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the San Juan Veterans Affairs Health Center and U.P.R. Medical Center. In 1987, after completion of this post-graduate training, he joined the United States Air Force (U.S.A.F.) as an officer in the active reserve medical corps. He obtained certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery in 1987, just months after completing his residency. His five years of military service included a sponsored one-year fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, from July of 1989 to June 1990.
Dr. Carrau served as Chief Otolaryngologist at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois from July 1988 to June 1989 and Chief of Otolaryngology, Audiology and Speech & Language Pathology Services at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi from August 1990 to June 1992. The latter assignment involved a very busy service, responsible for the tertiary care of U.S.A.F. active duty personnel, dependents and retirees for the east coast of the U.S.A and the entire European continent. He was responsible for clinical and surgical care, management and evaluation of personnel and for the fiscal health of the service.
In July of 1992 he joined the faculty of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the Eye and Ear Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh as an Assistant Professor. Upon joining the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, he was named Director of Maxillofacial Trauma, and remained serving in this position until his departure from UPMC in February 2, 2010. During his early years at the University of Pittsburgh he also served as Director of the Consult Service at the Presbyterian and Montefiore Hospitals. These institutions merged eventually forming the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at Oakland and, by that time, he was named Director of the Swallowing and Tracheotomy Care Unit for U.P.M.C.
In 1999 he spearheaded the organization and implementation of the U.P.M.C. Swallowing Disorders Clinic (SDC) for which he served as Medical Director until February 1010. At the time of its inauguration, the SDC was a novel concept and the first clinic of its type to be attached to an otolaryngology department. It became a boon for local, regional, national and international patients who sought the care of an experienced multidisciplinary team. The SDC evaluated and treated over 150 patients/month; thus, becoming a coveted training center for those Speech and Language Pathologists and Otolaryngologists who had an interest in this field. Since its inception the SDC received and trained over 100 visiting scholars and fellows, from diverse countries around the globe. Under Dr. Carrau’s guidance, the center recruited Roxanne Gross, PhD. as Director and head researcher for the SDC. At the time of Dr. Carrau’s separation from U.P.M.C., the SDC had over $750,000 of active grants.
During his 18-year tenure he directed or co-directed multiple congresses, instructional courses and workshops. Great notoriety was gained with the 1st World Congress of Endoscopic Surgery of the Skull Base, Brain and Spine and the four-times-a-year Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery Course, both representing the educational expression of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Center. In addition, he served as the co-director for the Salivary Gland Disorders Center and the North American Sialendoscopy Training Center.
In March 1, 2010, he joined the 3600 Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery Department at the John Wayne Cancer Institute (J.W.C.I. Neuroscience Institute) at the Saint John’s Health Center, Santa Monica California. Dr. Carrau was instrumental to establish a Visiting Scholar Program, expand the international patients outreach program and organized and directed three hands-on courses on minimally invasive approaches to the skull base.
In April 1, 2011, he joined the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery Department at The Ohio State University as tenured Professor in Otolaryngology-Head &Neck Surgery, Director of the Comprehensive Skull Base Surgery Program and Co-Director of the research and education laboratory ALT-VISION (Anatomy Laboratory Toward Visuo-Spatial Innovations in Otolaryngology and Neurosurgery; Co-director Dr. Daniel Prevedello, Department of Neurosurgery). The Comprehensive Skull Base Surgery Program is part of the Head & Neck Oncology Division at The James Cancer Hospital and the Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University Medical Center (O.S.U.M.C.) with strong ties to the Divisions of Rhinology and Neuro-Otology. In addition, he was tasked with the organization, development and promotion of the Sialendoscopy and Salivary Disorders program; and, in conjunction with Loni Arrese, CCC-SLP, the Swallowing Disorders Rehabilitation Program.
His clinical interests are diverse and include traditional and endoscopic skull base surgery, head and neck oncology, swallowing disorders, disorders of the salivary glands and sialendoscopy, disorders of the paranasal sinuses and endoscopic sinus surgery and laryngotracheal stenosis. His participation in the different subdivisions of the Otolaryngology-Head &Neck Surgery Department, previously at U.P.M.C. and currently at O.S.U.M.C., is a reflection of these interests. He served as Medical Director of the U.P.M.C. Swallowing Disorders Center, Director of the Division of Maxillofacial Trauma and a member of the Division of Rhinology and Allergy, Division of Head & Neck Oncologic Surgery, Division of Skull Base Surgery and the Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery Center. Similarly, he belongs to multiple professional organizations that match his clinical interests. His role in the multiple divisions and programs at O.S.U.M.C. was addressed in the previous paragraphs.
While at the U.P.M.C., Dr. Carrau ran an extremely busy clinical practice that included two full days of outpatient office and three surgical days per week. During the academic year 2008 he had over 1900 patient-encounters and performed over 400 surgeries. His clinical workload was over 15,000 wRVUs (work relative value units), which placed his clinical productivity over the 99th percentile of that of academic otolaryngologists in the U.S.A.
In March 23, 2010 he joined the faculty of the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center, Santa Monica, CA. He joined Drs. Amin Kassam and Daniel Kelly, renowned skull base surgeons, at the J.W.C.I. Neuroscience Institute.
Since joining the Department of ORL-HNS at O.S.U.M.C., last April 1, 2011, he has duplicated and expanded his previous practice, quickly becoming one of the busiest surgeons in the practice group.
During his 18 years practicing at the U.P.M.C. he developed a national and international reputation as a top otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon. Among others, he has received accolades by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery’s (Honor Award, 2001), the American Head and Neck Society (Presidential Citation, 2004) and the U.P.M.C. (Award for Clinical Excellence 2005). His expertise has been recognized by his peers, who catapulted him to listings in Top Doctors in America, America’s Top Doctors for Cancer, Top Doctors in Pittsburgh, Best of the U.S. Physicians and the honor edition of “Who is Who” Registry. These multiple accolades have extended to his current position at O.S.U.M.C..
From 2004 until his departure from U.P.M.C. he served as Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. In recognition of his academic cross-pollinization and interdisciplinary contributions he also received secondary appointments as Professor in Neurological Surgery and Professor in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
As part of his role as an academic surgeon, he supervised the training of PGY-5 residents, who participate in all educational, research and clinical aspects of the service in a 3-6 months rotation. Dr. Carrau also participated in the training of four post-graduate trainees (fellows) in skull base surgery (two otolaryngologists and two neurological surgeons). In appreciation for his efforts he received the Best Teacher Award in three different occasions. At O.S.U.M.C. he continues to actively train ORL-HNS residents as part of their Head & Neck and University Hospital rotations. He is deeply committed to improve the education and training of future otolaryngologists as well as to facilitate the training of practicing otolaryngologists, who are continuously facing the challenges of rapidly evolving technologies and techniques. He has provided hundreds of lectures, round table presentations, talks in local, national and international meetings and has organized courses worldwide. In October 6-9, 2011, he co-directed the 1st OSU Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery Hands-on course, which was attended by 96 participants from 15 different countries. Among many innovations, this is the first course of its nature to include applications of robotic technologies in its program. Our Anatomy Laboratory Toward Visuo-Spatial Innovations in Otolaryngology and Neurosurgery was created and designed to facilitate training and education and is expected to eventually provide real time consultation and education world-wide.
Dr. Carrau has developed a remarkable curriculum vitae (CV), having authored over 340 publications (218 peer-reviewed) and co-authored/co-edited the books Operative Otolaryngology, Comprehensive Management of Swallowing Disorders, Clinical Manual of Swallowing Disorders, Clinical Management of Swallowing Disorders, and Dissection Laboratory Manual for Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery.
In 1994, Dr. Carrau co-authored the first report of a purely trans-nasal endoscopic approach to the sella turcica. Although others had previously suggested various endoscopic approaches to the sella, his technique proved to be the preferred approach. After minor modifications it was adopted as the standard endoscopic endonasal approach and became the foundation for endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery. Upon Dr. Amin Kassam recruitment to U.P.M.C., in 1998, the approach evolved into extended endoscopic approaches (EEA). EEAs are based in a variety of anatomy-based modules that could be combined to manage the entire median and paramedian skull base. By 2004, Dr. Carrau, Dr. Kassam and other members of the skull base surgery team had refined the EEA into a reproducible and reliable model that could be taught, adopted and modified to fit the circumstances of patients and surgeons throughout the world. Since 2006, Dr. Carrau has been instrumental in the development of various reconstructive vascularized flaps that have made the procedure safer; therefore, promoting and accelerating the acceptance of these techniques. Their use has extended globally, becoming the standard reconstructive technique in most major centers. These developments have lead to a paradigm shift in skull base surgery that continues to evolve to this day.
Since the early days of endoscopic skull base surgery, Dr. Carrau has served as a consultant for the development and improvement of surgical tools. Most recently, he has paired with industry to develop ergonomic instrumentations that will facilitate the EEAs, adding precision while lessening the surgeon’s fatigue.
The Anatomy Laboratory Toward Visuo-Spatial Innovations in Otolaryngology and Neurosurgery is a novel concept that integrates surgical anatomy research with the study of tissue biomechanics, the development of surgical simulation and the testing of new technologies. It also serves to develop new surgical and technological advances and to subsequently introduce and train faculty members, fellows and residents in the best use of these innovations. The laboratory is an integral part of an ongoing project in partnership with Don Stredney at the Ohio Super Computer Center for the development of a skull base surgery virtual simulation model.
As previously mentioned, the establishment of a multidisciplinary clinic and promotion of awareness and treatment of swallowing disorders has resulted in a new specialty that have benefited thousands of patients. He established new protocols that improved the swallowing outcomes of patients undergoing chemo-radiotherapy for cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract.
In addition, Dr. Carrau has contributed multiple seminal publications addressing the use of perioperative antibiotics, reconstructive surgeries the airways and surgeries of the salivary glands and sialendoscopy.