Andrew Fuson, MD, otolaryngologist at Our Lady of the Lake Head and Neck Center and assistant professor at Louisiana State University department of otolaryngology, head and neck oncology microvascular reconstruction, has a good head on his shoulders—and he wants the same for his patients. His healthcare career began when he worked as a rehab facility nurse in college.
“I’ve always loved the personal aspect of healthcare,” he says. “I enjoy talking to people and helping them through tough times.”
Dr. Fuson received his medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, followed by a residency in otolaryngology at the George Washington University Medical Center and a fellowship for head and neck oncology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. To this day, he’s grateful for the guidance and education provided by his professors.
“It influenced my decision to go into academics as well,” he says. “The mentorship and the quality of care I worked with and trained under made a lasting impact, and to be able to do that for someone else is very important to me.”
Treating Cancer With Robotic Surgery
Dr. Fuson is board-certified in otolaryngology, specifically head and neck surgery by the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners, and a contributing writer to articles published in Tissue Engineering and The Journal of Robotic Surgery.
“I think in head and neck specifically, it’s quite different from other aspects of robotic surgery,” Dr. Fuson says. “Other specialties use robotics to perform surgeries similar to traditional options, but for my specialty, there’s a new surgery that was designed specifically with robotics in mind.”
This leading-edge surgery allows physicians like Dr. Fuson to perform minimally invasive surgeries to remove oropharynx cancers, or cancers of the throat. This can include cancers affecting the tonsils and larynx.
“We’re able to use robotic surgery to do radical cancer surgeries through the patient’s mouth,” Dr. Fuson says. “These are minimally invasive procedures that can remove the entirety of the patient’s cancer and a small rim of normal tissue surrounding it.”
The benefit for patients includes faster recovery, including regaining swallow function more quickly, while still achieving success in treating cancer.
The Dream Team
While the advancements robotic surgery provides are remarkable, Dr. Fuson believes the real benefits come from the surgeons operating the robotic units.
“We have five head and neck fellowship-trained surgeons in one place, and most of us do robotics,” he says. “The amount of knowledge my colleagues have is remarkable; it’s something I draw from every day.”
Dr. Fuson is not the only one who benefits from a knowledgeable robotic team. It’s a major benefit to the community, as well.
“When a patient comes to see us, they aren’t seeing one doctor,” he says. “They’re seeing all of us. We collaborate to figure out the best way to take care of our patients.”
Music to His Ears
Dr. Fuson states that he’s honored to return to Baton Rouge, where he’s lived the majority of his life, after leaving for medical school.
“To be able to treat cancer in a community I’ve lived in is very rewarding,” he says. “I was gone for almost a decade, and it’s wonderful to come back and do what I’ve been training for 13 years to do.”
Dr. Fuson’s wife is a Baton Rouge native as well. They’ve been married for two years and bonded over a shared love of live music. It’s taken them across the country to multiple concerts and festivals, from San Francisco to Manchester, Tennessee. He’s seen his favorite band, Wilco, live “a few times.” But after each adventure, Dr. Fuson is proud to return and serve his community.