By Chris Motola
New ENT doctor at St. Joe’s: ‘I like to take care of my patients soup to nuts’
Q: How did you come to be at your current ear, nose and throat practice with St. Joseph’s Health?
A: I actually grew up in New York City. I did my medical training in Brooklyn. Shortly after I started my career, my husband and I wanted to move to a more rural, family-oriented area. So we came to the Syracuse area just about seven years ago with two small kids. I was originally full-time faculty at SUNY Upstate, and then I switched over to St. Joe’s a couple months ago, but I still maintain a faculty position at the university.
Q: What kinds of surgeries do you perform?
A: I’m a general ENT surgeon, so I do a wide breadth of cases. Probably the most common surgeries I do are ear tube, tonsillectomies, fixing deviated septums, sinus surgeries, removal of nodes, bumps, salivary glands. Things like that.
Q: Do these surgeries generally have good outcomes? Are they easy things to fix?
A: If we’re talking about the more common things, I’m lucky in that sense because all of those things have a very good prognosis. No surgery is risk-free, but those surgeries generally have a very high success rate.
Q: What are the recovery times typically like for ENT surgeries?
A: I would say the vast majority of surgery is outpatient surgery. If my patients do need to stay in the hospital, it’s usually only for one night. It’s rare that I have patients staying longer than that.
Q: Is your practice mainly geared toward surgery?
A: I split my time. Three days in the office and two days, more or less, in the operating room. I like to take care of my patients soup to nuts. So when the patient comes into the office I like to talk to them and give them their time to understand what’s going on with them. I like to do full physical exams and endoscopies in office. I do allergy testing, allergy treatment, in the office. The nice part of ear, nose and throat surgery is that it’s hybrid between medical management and surgical management. I feel like that kind of gives you the whole package in terms of being able to treat a patient’s problems. I also do allergy shots and a lot of allergy treatment. All of this allows me to treat problems as a whole rather than getting into the mindset of when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. You’re able to put everything together to optimize care for a patient. So I like to split my time between both wings of my practice.
Q: A lot of common ailments involve the ears, nose and throat. In what circumstances should a patient see you as opposed to primary care?
A: A lot of my referrals come from primary care physicians, and we have a lot of great ones in our area. It’s usually when a problem is severe, recurrent or not breaking that a specialist comes into play. If a toddler has one ear infection, a pediatrician can probably handle that. But if they’re having recurrent infections and not clearing their fluid, that’s when an ENT can be useful. If allergy meds and nasal sprays aren’t working or multiple rounds of antibiotics aren’t helping, that’s when you start to look into advanced levels of care.
Q: What does advanced care look like for allergies?
A: When we talk about allergies, a lot of people will have symptoms and get treated with antihistamines or nasal steroid sprays. But when you talk about advanced management, a big part of that is figuring out exactly what’s causing the issue. Then usually advanced allergy management has three big limbs to it. One is environmental strategy to lower your allergen load. The second is medical therapy with different combinations of medication. And the third is immunotherapy, where we try to desensitize patients to the things they’re allergic to. We have a couple modes of doing that. Most people associate this with allergy shots, but we actually now also have sublingual immunotherapy, both approved and off-label, that you can use to desensitize patients without needing a needle on a regular basis. It’s basically just a tablet you put under your tongue and let it dissolve.
Q: What kinds of allergies are those available for?
A: Grass, weeds, dust.
Q: What kinds of challenges does the interconnectivity of the ears, nose and throat present when it comes to diagnostics?
A: When I talk to patients, I like to get down to root causes. So if you have an ear problem and a throat problem, it’s my job to get to how those may be connected by asking the right questions and using the right tools. That could be lab work, endoscopy, imaging. If I’m able to find the root cause, I can manage that rather than just shooting from the hip at the different components. I think patients appreciate it when you get to the bottom of their problems rather than just putting a Band-Aid on their symptoms.
Q: What kind of impact do you want to have on your new practice? Is there anything different you plan to try?
A: I came to Central New York and established an allergy practice. The St. Joe’s practice didn’t have much in the way of immunotherapy, so we’ve already started introducing that. We have shots available, sublingual treatments and biological therapy, which is leveraging your immune system against things like chronic itching and chronic sinusitis and things like that. We also now have the ability to do in-office procedures like balloon sinoplasty, which is a way to treat chronic sinusitis in patients who are good candidates for it. We have cryotherapy for people who have chronic running noses. So these are things that are minimally invasive that we’re introducing into this group to provide some more convenient forms of care to the patient. I like to treat soup to nuts, so I like being able to treat whole families at a time, because a lot of these issues run in families.
Name: Haidy Marzouk, M.D.
Position: ENT physician at St. Joseph’s Health
Hometown: Staten Island
Education: SUNY Downstate Medical University
Affiliations: St. Joseph’s Health; SUNY Upstate University Hospital
Organizations: American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy; American Academy Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery
Family: Husband, three children
Hobbies: Church activities, reading, watching movies