paul bryson, md
Published on July 20, 2016
Pleased to post an interview with Dr. Paul Bryson, laryngeal surgeon from Cleveland Clinic. #fellowshipofthelarynx
TVF: Where do you currently practice?
PB: Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH
TVF; Where did you complete your medical training? Laryngology?
PB: I went to Univ. of Pittsburgh for medical school; Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for residency; Massachusetts General Hospital for laryngology fellowship
TVF: How/why did you come to choose laryngology?
PB: I was initially drawn to laryngology due to my enjoyment of and experiences with music and singing. It just seemed like a natural fit. I was especially taken by the amount of quality of life improvements you can make with people in laryngology.
I've had great mentorship throughout my journey in laryngology: Robert Buckmire, Clark Rosen, Steven Zeitels, James Burns, and more recently Michael Benninger have all been people who have trained, influenced, and promoted my career. There are countless others in our small subspecialty that have supported my career.
TVF: What comes to your mind as one of the most pressing issues in contemporary voice disorders?
PB: There are many pressing issues within our field. These issues are international. In benign disease, we are constantly seeking optimal surgical technique to positively influence healing and maintain pliability. In laryngeal papillomatosis, we are seeking medical/preventative therapies that limit disease recurrence and surgical intervention. Laryngeal scar and airway injury is also a critical problem that needs solved. Neurologic problems in laryngology are also constant challenges - spasmodic dysphonia, tremor, dysphagia rehabilitation
TVF: What are your research interests? Why?
PB: My research interests encompass the entire field of laryngology but are mainly focused on outcomes and quality. Are medicine as a whole focuses on these metrics, I feel that it is critical for our subspecialty to collaborate and report the great things we are doing for patients and patient safety.
TVF: Who are your favorite singers?
PB: I enjoy just about all genres. Here's a short list:
Classics: Led Zeppelin, Stones, Bowie, Beatles
Newer stuff: Adele, Chris Stapleton
The list is constantly changing and the above is not inclusive.
TVF: What is your vocal pet peeve?
PB: Situations where behavioral/environmental issues conspire to limit medical and surgical options for patients.
TVF: Which vocal myth would you like to dispel?
PB: Gargling with salt water - It might make your throat feel better but doesn't touch your vocal cords.
TVF: Your most memorable voice case?
PB: There are so many. I really enjoy keeping patients voices in good shape that have chronic diseases like papilloma.
I also enjoy being able to spare patients radiation therapy that have early stage vocal cord cancer.
It's also fun to get a performer back to doing what they do best, especially after microsurgery.
Medialization laryngoplasty is also a very rewarding procedure that I perform frequently.
TVF: As a laryngologist/surgeon, what keeps you on your toes?
PB: Airway management; requires constant communication and vigilance in the operating room.
TVF: What do you think the next steps are in growing the field of laryngology?
PB: Continue to participate in multi-institutional research to showcase our outcomes and quality. Continue to perform community outreach to increase awareness for voice disorders
TVF: In your opinion, what poses the greatest challenge in care of voice disorders?
PB: There are several - patient environmental and behavior issues, i.e. smoking, vocally abusive behaviors.
Access issues - difficulty getting into see the laryngologist. I also think the overall lack of speech language pathologists who specialize in voice is a significant issue for patients.
Other than that, surgical challenges remain in the management of glottic and subglottic stenosis
TVF: What advice would you like to give to the general populace about voice care? How about to the professional voice users?
PB: My advice for both is roughly the same; take care of your body and mind as best you can. If your voice is letting you down or has been different for more than a couple weeks, you should seek out care from someone that can assess and examine your vocal cords.
TVF: What sparks “joy” for you as a person?
PB: Time spent with my wife and daughter. Time spent with these two with either set of grandparents/aunts/uncles/friends.
Sustained exercise and strength training also provide balance to my life. I also love the beauty of the mountains and the outdoors in general.