Meet a Specialist: Nate Jowett, M.D.


Dr. Nate Jowett was raised by two parents in the medical field—his father was a family physician and his mother was an obstetrics nurse. Seeing his parents’ continuous hard work allowed him to witness the challenge, duty, responsibility, and clarity of purpose of a career in medicine. He soon realized that there are few careers outside of medicine which afford the daily opportunity to have a meaningful impact on individual lives as well as on humanity through research and innovation. Striving to make a difference, Dr. Jowett joined the Mass. Eye and Ear Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery after learning of the great work being done to restore the smiles of facial paralysis patients.

Dr. Jowett began his medical training at the University of Toronto where he earned his medical degree. As a first-year medical student, Dr. Jowett scrubbed into the operating room for the first time for a case of head and neck cancer and observed tissue being removed and reconstructed. He was immediately struck by the complex anatomy of the head and neck. He explains, “Since that particular area of the human body is the gateway for respiration, sustenance, verbal and non-verbal communication, I was immediately intrigued by the challenge of reconstructing its structure and function. At that moment, I knew I would focus on the head and neck.”  

Dr. Jowett later completed residency training in otolaryngology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He completed fellowship training in head and neck surgery at the University Medical Center Hamburg–Eppendorf and graduate work in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter also in Hamburg, Germany. During his surgical training, Dr. Jowett witnessed the overwhelming negative impact of facial paralysis on form, function, and verbal and non-verbal communication on patients. He decided to seek out advanced fellowship training in facial nerve reanimation to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to help patients stricken with this devastating condition. Dr. Jowett’s focus in facial nerve reanimation makes him an expert in surgical procedures to improve facial symmetry and dynamic expression among patients with facial nerve disorders.

Dr. Jowett came to Mass. Eye and Ear for additional training in facial nerve reanimation under the mentorship of Dr. Tessa Hadlock. He says, “The Facial Nerve Center at Mass. Eye and Ear is truly unique on a national and international level in that it specializes in the diagnosis and management of facial paralysis and related facial nerve disorders.” Dr. Jowett commonly treats patients with acute Bell’s palsy (a condition which results in distorted facial features and loss of meaningful smile). He also sees many congenital (genetic)  cases of facial paralysis such as Moebius syndrome (a rare condition which impacts the nerves and muscles controlling facial expression and eye movement), as well as facial paralysis following parotid or otologic surgery, or secondary to rare tumors such as facial nerve or vestibular schwannomas, and from infectious causes such as Lyme disease or rare auto-immune conditions.   

Working together with diagnostic radiology, head and neck oncology, neurotology, and ophthalmology specialists at Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Jowett and the other physicians of the Facial Nerve Center offer the complete spectrum of diagnostic and therapeutic management options for patients suffering from facial paralysis and related disorders. Some of those treatment options include medical and physical therapies, counseling, and a full-range of surgical procedures. Non-surgical treatments can positively impact patients in a big way. The Facial Nerve Center at Mass. Eye and Ear has two in-house therapists who specialize in the management of facial paralysis who offer counseling, education, and physical therapy strategies to enhance facial balance and function to patients. 

Dr. Jowett truly cares for his patients. In fact, he says, “Seeing a patient smile after a nerve or free muscle transfer is always special.” The majority of patients with facial nerve disorders can take solace in the fact that Dr. Jowett and the Facial Nerve Center team at Mass. Eye and Ear are devoted to achieving the best outcomes, and improving the quality of life, for patients who are impacted by this debilitating condition. 

Contact Dr. Jowett’s office at 617-573-4193. 

View Dr. Jowett’s online bio for more information.