Dr. Michael Rontal completed his residency at Washington University in St. Louis under the direction of Dr. Joseph Ogura, a renowned and innovative cancer surgeon. After finishing his residency, he entered the U.S. Army and became Chief of the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Following two years of practice, Dr. Michael Rontal returned to Detroit and began his private practice.
In these years of private practice in metro Detroit, we have been pushed by real life patient problems to find efficient and practical solutions. In two of the major areas of an ear, nose and throat practice, sinus disease and problems of the larynx (voice, breathing, coughing and swallowing) we have found plenty of questions to answer. From of our studies of clinical anatomy and physiology to advanced understanding of disease process we have added to the world’s literature. For sinus disease, we laid out the surgical anatomic relationships of the sinuses to the orbits. We were among the very first to describe with scanning electron microscopy the bacterial presence on sinus surfaces known as a biofilm. We have shown genetic changes in sinus disease that can lead to polyp formation. For the larynx, our investigation has laid out the surgical and clinical anatomy of laryngeal innervation, how the larynx works to create an effective cough to protect the lungs and how to use this information to reconstruct the larynx and laryngeal functions of voice, cough, swallow and breathing after paralysis. And then along the way, back in the 1970’s our hospital was one of the first in the world to create surgical lasers so we were presented with the opportunity to work with other doctors around the world as we all devised the principles of laser surgery used routinely today. This body of work is mentioned to show that by “simply” solving questions of everyday practice with a curiosity and a willingness to investigate and to adopt, better treatment can happen even in a private practice.