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A Force of Nature

Dr. Anthony Maniglia pushed boundaries of medical science, changed lives

UH Ear, Nose & Throat Institute - Winter 2018

Surgeon. Physician. Researcher. Educator. Family man.

Dr. Anthony J. Maniglia, Emeritus Professor and Chairman of Otolaryngology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, who died last summer at age 80, was a recognized innovator and leader in the field of otolaryngology.

Current Chairman of University Hospitals Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, Cliff Megerian, MD, compares his mentor’s robust spirit and energy level to that of Winston Churchill, Britain’s World War II-era prime minister.

“Dr. Maniglia had an uncanny ability to get things done and – with his prodigious output and ability to motivate others – to make significant changes in the field and to improve patients’ lives,” Dr. Megerian says.

 Anthony Maniglia, MD


Known for his groundbreaking work in ENT-head and neck surgery, hearing preservation and hearing loss solutions, Dr. Maniglia never restricted his research to one treatment area or patient population. His unique approach to innovation led him to explore an array of medical technologies and modalities.

Early in his career, Dr. Maniglia investigated the use of bismuth subgallate and activated Factor XII (Hageman factor) to accelerate blood clotting. That research led to the development of an outpatient tonsillectomy procedure that reduced risk of hemorrhaging while minimizing both tissue and psychological trauma, particularly in young children.

After seeing patients who were frustrated by hearing aids that fell out, became infected, didn’t work well or stopped working when the patient underwent MRI, Dr. Maniglia pursued research that combined electronics, ceramics, metallurgy, neurotology and otology and helped develop early versions of a totally implantable hearing aid and totally implantable cochlear implant.

In addition to this research, Dr. Maniglia developed a mid-face degloving procedure to lower risk of brain injury during sinus surgery and prevent scarring or nerve damage to the face; and he was an early pioneer of hearing preservation in acoustic neuroma surgery.



Dr. Maniglia may have had his most profound impact as the founder and dynamic leader of the UH Department of Otolaryngology. When he arrived at UH in 1985, he vowed to make the department – then consisting of three full-time faculty – “the best in the land.” Under his direction, which included mentoring of each successive chair, the department flourished.

Today the thriving center of patient care, teaching and research has close to 50 full-time faculty, five endowed chairs (including the Julius W. McCall Professorship in Otolaryngology), four annual residents and a Head and Neck Surgery and Reconstruction Fellowship. It is ranked the nation’s 12th best adult ENT hospital by U.S. News and World Report.

Dr. Maniglia’s legacy of pushing staff to fulfill their potential has had a lasting effect, Dr. Megerian says. “He expected you to perform at the highest level of your capabilities because he felt that each person he recruited was special. He was incredibly loyal and committed to the success of people that he felt were his friends and, more important, in people he felt showed promise.”

As a mentor, Dr. Maniglia always encouraged department members to pursue leadership positions with the School of Medicine and UH, and to participate in national professional organizations.

“He was never happier than when one of his friends or associates achieved success,” Dr. Megerian says. “Many of his residents went on to obtain important fellowships nationally and enter the ranks of academic medicine.”

Paternalistic, tough, yet caring, Dr. Maniglia was keenly aware of each resident, student, faculty member and patient and what was going on in their lives, always wanting the best for them.

“If you were buying a car or a house, he knew about it,” Dr. Megerian says. “He wanted to make sure you got the best interest rate or that the house was in a safe location.”



More than three decades after Dr. Maniglia set the wheels in motion, the UH Department of Otolaryngology continues to provide exceptional patient care, while attracting top talent and making important advances in ENT, head and neck surgery and treatment. After he retired in 2008, Dr. Maniglia set up the funding to establish the Anthony J. Maniglia Chair in Research and Education in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, which is helping ensure that legacy of excellence well into the future.

Described as a “force of nature” by colleagues, Dr. Maniglia’s indefatigable spirit carried him through many a long day and night. Fittingly, he enjoyed a remarkably joyful, full life of family and travel after his retirement in 2000.


Donations honoring Dr. Maniglia may be made to the Anthony J. Maniglia, M.D. Chair in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Attn: Kim Kuivila, LKS 1016, 11100 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH  44106

You can also visit UH Giving to make your gift online or call 216.844.5821.

(Designation: Other; Tribute Information: Anthony J. Maniglia, M.D. Chair in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery)