Avanti Verma, MD, is a head and neck surgeon who specializes in treating cancerous and noncancerous tumors, as well as thyroid and salivary diseases. She uses minimally invasive techniques through robotic surgery and also performs advanced reconstruction.
Although she was always interested in medicine, Dr. Verma studied literature and French in college. She spent a year teaching English in France before starting medical school. “The teaching experience in France taught me a lot about empathy and communication, and those skills have helped me a lot in surgery and especially in cancer care,” she says.
Dr. Verma says she was drawn to otolaryngology (a medical specialty focused on the ear, nose, and throat) after she scrubbed in on a thyroid surgery during medical school. “I loved learning about neck anatomy, and the surgeries are very delicate and require a lot of technical precision,” she explains. “The structures of the head and neck help us function not just with speech and with swallowing, but they are important to us socially.”
Dr. Verma says she takes great care to explain to patients what will happen during and after surgery. “Especially with bigger cancer surgeries, there are a lot of cosmetic issues in addition to all the nerves, the voice box, and the airway, which contribute to function,” she says. “I like to go over everything, including how they will heal.”