Meet Dr. Laura TullyOtolaryngologist in Dallas, Texas

Laura Tully, M.D., takes her work personally – because what she does can have such personal consequences.

“What I treat is often vital to my patient’s individuality,” she says. “It’s his voice, his hearing, his ability to communicate with others; it’s breathing and swallowing.”

Dr. Tully serves as a general otolaryngologist (also known as an ENT, or ear, nose, and throat specialist), which means she performs procedures and surgeries to help people with thyroid problems, salivary gland disorders, ear disorders, and sinus and allergy problems.

She has extensive training and experience treating fractures in the face, jaw, and eye orbits, injuries that can result from simple falls, high-speed motor-vehicle accidents, gunshot wounds, and other incidents.

The intimate connection between anatomy and function in this area of the body makes head and neck surgery both challenging and delicate work.

“For example, when you’re realigning a fractured jaw, if it’s even a millimeter off the patient will notice because his teeth won’t line up,” Dr. Tully says. “So it’s never just fixing a fracture; you are restoring how a patient sees himself in the mirror, how he functions every day.”

The Value of Being a Generalist

Dr. Tully says that being a general otolaryngologist is rare in many academic medical centers, where most ENT experts have a very specific focus and subspecialty training. When a patient comes to me with an ear complaint and a swallow issue and a thyroid issue, I can talk about all these issues with that person.”

While surgery is a big part of her practice, Dr. Tully says that her work with patients begins by getting to know them in the clinic.

“I learn about the patient, we discuss his or her illness, and then we make a treatment plan. That may be medical management or a procedure we can do right there in the clinic, or we might make an appointment in the OR.”

And if a patient needs subspecialty care, Dr. Tully can easily connect him to one of her colleagues – who is often right down the hall.

“It’s really helpful to be part of a large team here,” she says, noting that the otolaryngology team works closely with skilled nurses, audiologists, speech pathologists, and respiratory therapists.

“What I value about UT Southwestern is that we all respect each other as a team. Everyone is well trained, from the surgery schedulers to the front-desk staff; every single person who interacts with the patient is here to provide a high-quality, streamlined experience for the people in our care. So I really feel like we are able to provide the best in comprehensive care,” she says.