The Gulfshore's Top Doctors 2013
Our annual list of Castle Connolly's picks for the most recommended physicians in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties.
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A Passion for the Challenges
WHEN YOU MEET DR. JAY ROBERTS, HIS passion for otolaryngology is evident—if not in the way he speaks about his work, than in the elegant pin of the inner ear he displays proudly on his white coat. As an ear, nose and throat specialist, Roberts deals with things as simple as the removal of earwax and as extremely complicated as the neurosurgeon-assisted removal of skull-based tumors.
Patients have likened Roberts to the brilliant doctor of TV’s House for his undeniable gravitation toward challenging cases (not for speaking uncouthly to patients). He loves the complexity of head and neck anatomy and welcomes the toughest of operations.
“But the most exciting thing I do I find exciting not for me, but for the patient,” Roberts says. “And that’s robotic surgery for throat cancer.”
The “old-fashioned” alternative is traumatic enough that some patients choose instead to opt for hospice care. Not all throat tumor cases can be treated robotically, but Roberts estimates a third to half are the right size and location for the TORS procedure (TransOral robotic surgery).
“How that would be done in 1910—and in 2010—would be to … open their whole lower face,” Roberts says. “That becomes a procedure that I do with the robot through the open mouth. … So you take a three-hour operation with a 10-day hospitalization, and you make it seven to 20 minutes, no tracheotomy, no feeding tube, no ICU, home the day after surgery, they’re eating the day of surgery—that’s exciting.”
Roberts also received training so come season he can offer a cutting-edge ear implant, the MAXUM System, which involves a procedure only a small portion of otolaryngologists have steady enough hands to perform. Unlike a hearing aid, which uses a speaker, the device employs an electromagnetic signal. The result is significantly less acoustic feedback and markedly clearer sound quality.
“I get tremendous support here,” Roberts says. “They’ve always been willing to make that investment so we could provide those services to the patient. I feel very fortunate to work with an institution where they say ‘yes’ virtually every time.”