Meet Dr. Baran Sumer
Head and Neck Cancer Specialist in Dallas

The head and neck have many critical blood vessels, nerves, and structures that affect appearance as well as key functions such as speaking and swallowing. Because of the skill required to treat cancers in this area, patients with head and neck cancer should seek experts with mastery of the most recent treatments.

Otolaryngologist Baran Sumer, M.D., leads a team of head and neck cancer experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center offering the latest therapies, including minimally invasive surgical techniques and targeted radiation and chemotherapy.

Thanks to the latest advances in robotic surgery, many head and neck cancers can be removed with minimal damage to healthy tissues.

“These procedures tend to be much better tolerated by patients than surgery in the past, which would often result in problems with swallowing and speech,” Dr. Sumer says. “We perform endoscopic and robotic procedures that allow us to go through the mouth, requiring no incisions on the outside of a patient’s neck or face.”

A D Magazine Best Doctor in 2015, Dr. Sumer has a special focus on transoral robotic procedures (TORS) and laser procedures. Dr. Sumer made medical history in North Texas when he became the first surgeon in the region to perform a TORS procedure to remove a throat malignancy.

Comprehensive, multidisciplinary care

In addition to surgical, radiation, and medical oncologists, UT Southwestern’s head and neck cancer team includes plastic reconstructive surgeons, speech pathologists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, nutritionists, and physical and occupational therapists.

“Physicians do play an important role in the treatment of head and neck cancer,” Dr. Sumer says, “but it’s the multidisciplinary care, counseling, and rehabilitation our team offers that ultimately allow patients to achieve the best quality of life.” 

The benefits of this collaborative approach to treatment of these complex cancers are seen every day at UT Southwestern.

“We’ve had patients who were told by other physicians that they would need their entire tongues removed, or that they would need a hole in their neck to breathe through for the rest of their lives,” Dr. Sumer says. “We were able to cure their malignancies and preserve their swallowing and speech. You can imagine how important that is, not only for people whose livelihoods involve speaking, but for everyday activities that we otherwise tend to take for granted.

“I have had many patients return to thank me, saying, ‘I can go out to restaurants and enjoy eating dinner in public with my family and friends.’ That's a very rewarding feeling.”