david Lott, md

Published on May 6, 2016

Dr. David Lott, laryngeal surgeon, is the director of Mayo Clinic Arizona Voice Program. #fellowshipofthelarynx

TVF: Where do you currently practice?
DL: I currently practice at Mayo Clinic Arizona.

TVF: Where did you complete your medical training? Laryngology?
DL: I completed my fellowship training in laryngeal surgery and voice rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. My Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery residency was at the Cleveland Clinic Head and Neck Institute. I completed medical school at the University of Iowa.

TVF: How/why did you come to choose laryngology?
DL: Laryngology is the perfect combination of the arts and sciences. You get to influence lives in a way other physicians can’t. Helping people restore their ability to communicate and sing drastically changes their lives. In addition, you get to help everyone from professional voice users to those with life-threatening cancers, airway problems, and swallowing difficulties.

TVF: What comes to your mind as one of the most pressing issues in contemporary voice disorders? Do you think this is an international problem or specific to your country?
DL: The mismanagement of laryngeal cancer, which is an international problem. Many people receive treatments that are too excessive and needlessly leave them with a significantly diminished ability to speak or swallow.

TVF: What is/are your research interest(s)? Why?
DL: My main area of research is on tissue-engineering for head and neck reconstruction, with a special focus on the larynx and trachea. I direct a full-time basic research lab that is dedicated to establishing safe and effective clinical translation of regenerative medicine technology. In addition, I am involved in multiple laryngology-related clinical studies.

TVF: Who is your favorite singer?
DL: I have a wide range of music that I like! To name a few of my favorite singers: Amy Lee (Evanescence), Collin Raye, and Zac Brown.

TVF: What is your vocal pet peeve?
DL: Presbyphonia. See next question.

TVF: Which vocal myth would you like to dispel?
DL: Presbyphonia is the most concerning “myth” to me since it causes clinicians to disregard a voice problem simply because a person is old. Yes, there are changes to the vocal folds that are related to age, but not all become symptomatic. As clinicians, we need to treat dysphonia in all ages for what it is, a disorder that has treatment options.

TVF: Your most memorable voice case?
DL: We were able to save the larynx in a patient with a very large tumor. We removed half of the larynx and were able to recreate a new "vocal fold” that allowed the patient to have a near-normal voice and swallow well. Another case was a woman who had multiple large laryngeal cysts that made her have a very bad voice. She became reclusive and stopped doing all of the things she loved for about 10 years. After surgery, she regained a normal voice and became the person she forgot she was. She moved into a retirement community, made friends, and started painting again.

TVF: As a laryngologist/surgeon, what keeps you on your toes?
DL: Airway emergencies always keep me on my toes. Many of my patients have very bad airways. Things can go wrong very quickly for them if I am not always on my toes.

TVF: What advice would you like to give to the general populace about voice care? How about to the professional voice users?
DL: My advice for both groups is to not take your voice for granted. Your voice and your ability to communicate are an important part of what makes you who you are. Pay attention to your voice and see a laryngologist if something seems strange to you.

TVF: What sparks “joy” for you as a person?

DL: God, family, friends, and work. In that order.


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