Hospital Affiliation: Columbia Memorial Hospital, Northern Dutchess Hospital
For Michael J. Kortbus, MD, FACS, an otolaryngologist affiliated with Hudson ENT in Hudson, it all comes down to “greatly improving quality of life” for his patients. According to Kortbus, being a young sufferer of allergies was a key factor that drew him to the specialty. Later, as a med student, he became further intrigued by the diverse opportunities offered by otolaryngology to apply the latest technologies, perform surgery and other manual techniques for care, and treat chronic and acute problems in all ages and genders.
What are some of the most common disorders you see in adults and children?
One of the greatest things about being an ear, nose, and throat doctor is seeing people of all ages and being able to potentially solve their problem within one or two visits. This is very gratifying for both the patient and the physician. For children, this could be curing fluid in the ear or taking care of tonsil problems — which are both very commonly seen. For adults, this could be solving a hearing issue or giving them a better quality of life by opening up their sinuses.
Are there any new treatments or technologies in the ENT field that you’re excited about?
One of the greatest new developments that I am very excited about is the ability to open people’s sinuses in the office setting. Depending on the circumstances, a patient who has many colds and sinus problems could come in for a consultation, then schedule a visit for a procedure in the office with essentially no downtime and have the ability to go to work either later that day or the next day, potentially cured of their condition.
As far as advances coming down the line, transoral robotic surgery for throat problems is being strongly researched. This tool will allow surgeons to do more precise procedures for parts of the throat that were otherwise very difficult to access. Also, there have been advances in the surgical management of sleep apnea.
How/why does a person who hasn’t been allergic to something — say, dander — in the past suddenly develop an allergy?
Sometimes there is cross-reactivity for oral allergens, and it is surprising how there are some people who never had allergies and then develop them. I don’t think we know yet exactly why that is, but there might be some effects from aging, diet, and chemical exposure.
Is there something you wish patients knew that they don’t?
The main thing I wish I could convey to those patients who have not been seen by an ENT is that there’s a whole field dedicated to issues related to the head and neck. If you’re in doubt about something related to the ears, nose, and throat, it would be a smart move to call our ENT office. Also, I wish people knew that most insurances do not require a referral. We are one of a few practices remaining that is not under a large administrative umbrella.