Meet a Specialist: Felipe Santos, M.D.
Although Dr. Felipe Santos was always fascinated by his father’s work as a clinician-scientist, he did not necessarily plan to become a clinician-scientist himself, until taking a comparative anatomy class during his undergraduate studies. “Learning about the human organism, along with exploring the disease process and how physicians can intervene in that process, absolutely fascinated me,” Dr. Santos recalls. “Later, during medical school, I was involved in a genetic research project related to hearing loss. I was captivated by the complexity of the inner ear, and that’s when I knew I would specialize in otology.”
A Board Certified member of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Otolaryngology Service, and an Otology Specialist, Dr. Santos works as both a physician and a scientist. He subspecializes in neurotology, the study and treatment of neurological disorders of the ear, and lateral skull-based surgery. He treats patients of all ages suffering from a variety of ear-related diseases and disorders. Dr. Santos stresses the range of treatment plans he offers patients. “I treat adults and children suffering from a wide range of conditions related to hearing and balance,” Dr. Santos explains. “The huge spectrum of ear and balance-related conditions means that no two treatments are exactly alike. I tailor treatment plans for each individual patient to maximize his or her quality of life.” Dr. Santos explains that treatment can be in the form of behavioral therapy, medical therapy, or in certain cases, surgery. “For example, if a patient suffers from a low degree of hearing loss, I might work with the patient on a behavioral treatment, such as new communication strategies. Someone suffering from sudden hearing loss could benefit from medication or steroid administration, depending on the specific situation,” Dr. Santos states.
Dr. Santos is deeply interested in each patient’s personal story, in addition to the medical condition he is treating. He truly connects with a patient to see beyond the medical issue at hand. He mentions, “The patient’s story puts into context my ultimate goal, which is to improve his or her quality of life. My goal with every patient is to get to the root of the problem and solve it as quickly as possible. The best scenario occurs when a patient can resume his or her lifestyle with minimal treatment.”
In addition to treating patients, Dr. Santos devotes much time and effort to research. “Mass. Eye and Ear has one of the largest research centers for hearing and balance disorders in the world, and we are involved in a number of research programs,” Dr. Santos explains. “I’m currently involved in drug discovery research, with the goal of identifying new drugs to prevent hearing loss.” Dr. Santos is also involved in research which studies the cause of certain diseases of the inner ear. Eventually, they will use this understanding to improve patients’ hearing and balance. Dr. Santos stresses the collaboration that takes place at Mass. Eye and Ear between research and clinical programs. “Each of Mass. Eye and Ear’s research programs assists with clinical decision making; each clinical decision that is made, drives new research. It’s a very collaborative process.”
Dr. Santos’ clinical and research efforts have allowed him to build strong relationships not only with other physicians, but with patients as well. “Word of mouth plays a significant role in how patients find me, whether it’s through blogs or patient to patient encounters. It’s rewarding to meet new patients who have been referred by friends or family, because they had a positive experience at Mass. Eye and Ear,” Dr. Santos remarks. Outside the hospital, Dr. Santos and other members of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Otology Service participate in community outreach programs. “Each year, we take part in a community hearing seminar. At the seminar, community members learn valuable information about hearing health and are given the chance to ask hearing and ear-related questions. It’s a great opportunity to educate the public about hearing-related issues and about Mass. Eye and Ear in general,” Dr. Santos explains. “Taking part in these community events truly allows us to demonstrate the outstanding level of care and resources available at Mass. Eye and Ear.”
Contact Dr. Santos’ office at 617-573-3936.
View Dr. Santos’ online bio for more information.