Mayo Clinic otolaryngologist Phillip Pirgousis, M.D., D.M.D., conducts and publishes clinical translational research centered on advancing surgical approaches and treatment strategies for head and neck cancer. He is particularly interested in skin cancer involving the head and neck, mucosal cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract, and cancers of the endocrine system — namely thyroid and parathyroid cancers.
Dr. Pirgousis also conducts research on improving reconstructive procedures for patients who've had head and neck cancer, with the goal of improving the patients' quality of life and functional outcomes.
- Head and neck reconstructive surgery. Dr. Pirgousis' research team is finding new ways to use 3D printers in the surgical suite. This allows the team to provide individualized models of tumors to facilitate more accurate planning before each surgery takes place. In addition, Dr. Pigousis' team creates customized 3D-printed titanium plates to fit on patients' faces. These patient-specific tools not only allow for extremely precise and personalized construction of the plates but also shorten the time that patients spend in surgery.
- Immunotherapy for melanoma. Dr. Pirgousis is studying the combination of surgery and immunotherapy to treat patients with intermediate or advanced metastatic cancer who would otherwise be receiving palliative care. He works with a multidisciplinary group of Mayo Clinic skin cancer experts to use Food and Drug Administration-approved agents to find innovative solutions for difficult-to-treat cancers.
- Regenerative reconstruction techniques. Dr. Pirgousis has previous experience in stem cell research for head and neck reconstruction. Although he is currently focused on clinical services, he aims to return to regenerative medicine research to find better ways to reconstruct patients' ears, noses and faces after disease or injury.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Pigousis' 3D printing research allows head and neck surgeons to provide better care that is more customized to each patient. Printing titanium plates in the operating room makes reconstructive surgery faster and safer, lowers costs, and improves outcomes. Meanwhile, his work on new immunotherapy treatment strategies offers new hope to patients with life-threatening cancers.
- Editorial board, Ear, Nose and Throat Journal, 2018-present
- Contributing editor and reviewer
- Head and Neck, 2018-present
- Journal of Craniomaxillofacial Surgery, 2012-present
- JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2011-present
- Outstanding teacher residency, Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, 2013-present
- Jacksonville Heroes Award for Excellence in Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, 2016
- Roger M. Hehn Exemplary Teacher Award, University of Florida College of Medicine, 2016