Nikita Kohli, MD, is an otolaryngologist who specializes in disorders of the ears, nose, and throat. She also has advanced training in disorders of the voice, airway, and swallowing, and plays an integral role in the Yale Speech and Swallow Program.
Dr. Kohli believes in a comprehensive approach to treatment, recognizing that there are medical, therapeutic, and surgical options for most disorders. She strongly believes in patient education and a shared decision-making process in which patients are empowered to make informed decisions about their health care.
Dr. Kohli has cared for people in a variety of professions, including teachers, singers, actors, and theatrical performers. “To me, anyone who uses their voice on a regular basis is a professional voice user,” Dr. Kohli says. “Our voices are so important to how we communicate and express ourselves. The ability to enhance and restore that function is incredibly rewarding and humbling.”
Many of the problems people develop may stem from heavy vocal demands, Dr. Kohli says. “If you think about a high-performance athlete, they may sustain physical injuries. Similarly, singers or teachers may develop injuries to their vocal cords due to high vocal demands. We can find lesions like polyps, hemorrhages, and small vocal cord cysts as well,” she says.
Treatments may involve lasers (for vocal cord papilloma and polyps), Botox injections (for spasmodic dysphonia), and filler material injections (for vocal cord paralysis). Some patients can be treated with minimally invasive microsurgical techniques in the operating room while others can be treated in the office, depending on the issue and the patient’s preference, she says.
An assistant professor of otolaryngology at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Kohli is interested in expanding the scope of ear, nose, and throat problems that can be treated effectively in the doctor’s office. Recent advances in instrumentation and visualization have allowed physicians to provide much of their treatment in the office rather than in the operating room. “It’s always nice to spare someone a trip to the operating room under general anesthesia if we can treat them safely and optimally in the office,” Dr. Kohli says.