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A Conversation with an Otolaryngologist

A Conversation with an Otolaryngologist


What is an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon?

An otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon, commonly referred to as an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT), is a physician who treats diseases of the head and neck, both medically and surgically. This includes diseases of the external, middle, and inner ear, the nose, oral cavity, neck, and facial structures.

What are the most common types of conditions you treat?

I treat many types of conditions including recurrent acute otitis media, chronic middle ear fluid, hearing loss, snoring, acute and chronic adenotonsillitis, allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, hoarseness, tumors of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, cough, gastrointestinal reflux (GERD), vertigo, and headache.

Where do you practice?

I am in a large private group practice called ENT and Allergy Associates, practicing in New York and New Jersey. We have multiple offices and are the largest group in the U.S. These types of large groups are becoming more common, and from my perspective, are a great way to practice medicine. I am also on the faculty of Columbia University.

What type of training did you have?

Being an otolaryngologist takes dedication. In my case, I completed four years of college at St John’s University, followed by medical school at SUNY Downstate. Next, I completed a five-year residency at the University of California, San Francisco. Originally, I had thought about orthopedic surgery, but after takingan ENT rotation, I felt that otolaryngology was what I wanted to do. I really liked the residents, faculty, and the types of medicine and surgery that I saw.

What do you like most about the specialty?

There are several reasons why I love this specialty:

  • The great diversity of the patients, from children through the elderly of both sexes
  • The different illnesses I see and the ability to concentrate in specific areas of interest
  • The innovations in surgical approaches that continue to be developed
  • The tremendous variety of surgical procedures on can master
  • The ability to do only medical care if I no longer desire to operate
  • The camaraderie of my peers and the opportunity to engage with thousands of my global colleagues through the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
What “words of wisdom” do you have for students interested in becoming an otolaryngologist?

I would strongly recommend spending time with a practicing physician in their office while in high school, college, and the first two years of medical school to gain a better understanding of the specialty firsthand. In the third and fourth year of medical school, I recommend taking a rotation for one month.

What are the benefits to participating in the Academy’s observership program?

This is a unique opportunity to gain exposure to the specialty, see firsthand what ENTs do and the patients they treat, and meet wonderful physicians. Even if you pursue another area of medicine, you will gain an understanding of the specialty and how we can help your patients.


About Lee D. Eisenberg, MD 

Lee D. Eisenberg is Board Certified in Otolaryngology and a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) and the American College of Surgeons. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in NY, NY, and The University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, NJ. Dr. Eisenberg practices at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, where he is chief of Otolaryngology, and Hackensack Medical Center. Dr. Eisenberg has received the Special Service Award from the Board of Governors of the AAO-HNS and a Presidential Citation from the AAO-HNS for his nationally recognized work in practice management.

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