Top Doctors: Hudson Valley’s Best-Rated Doctors in 2012
Solid credentials, proven skill, and a compassionate bedside manner — these qualities are the hallmarks of a top-flight physician. Here are 145 local doctors in 38 specialties who — according to their peers — make the grade
Photographs by Ken Gabrielsen
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Dr. George Pazos
Otolaryngology, Carmel and Yorktown
Dr. George Pazos’ medical background runs the gamut from treating military jet-fighter pilots, to serving as backup for NASA missions, to treating kids and adults in his Hudson Valley practice.
Pazos specializes in otolaryngology, the medical field involving conditions of the head, neck, ears, nose, and throat. A University of Pennsylvania graduate, he received his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He served as a resident at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, became a Navy flight surgeon, offering medical care for Navy F-18 fighter and Marine helicopter pilots, and was trained by NASA for medical support during space shuttle programs.
He also served as chief resident of otolaryngology at Bethesda Naval Hospital and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and has received awards for military medical care, including treating personnel wounded in the second Gulf War. In addition to his practice at ENT and Allergy Associates in Yorktown and Carmel — a medical group with offices throughout New York and New Jersey — Pazos is clinical assistant professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
“Otolaryngology is a very rewarding, dynamic field, with several innovative new approaches to the way we do things,” he says.
Among those state-of-the art techniques is a method known as an oral brush biopsy, which helps detect cancer in the mouth. “Prior to about 2010, you would have to do a knife biopsy if a patient had an unusual feature in their oral cavity. Now we can do a biopsy with the Oral CDx brush. There’s no surgery needed, it’s painless, and within just a few days, we get a very detailed report as to whether any cancer cells are present.”
Pazos says the process uses a state-of-the-art computerized technique. “A microscope automatically scans and picks out areas of interest in the cells, whittling down from thousands of images to about 20, that it presents to a pathologist” to analyze. “What’s interesting is that this technology is the same type used in the military Star Wars program, where some degree of sophisticated artificial intelligence was needed.”
Another high-tech method, known as balloon sinuplasty, can help unclog blocked nasal passages. “It’s the same approach as when a balloon is used in cardiology to dilate blood vessels. Here, everything is done through the nasal cavity, so there’s no incision; it’s much less painful and recovery is dramatically improved,” Pazos says.
Still another leading-edge procedure helps in nasal polyposis cases. “We inject the polyps with steroids. In some cases, I’d inject on say, a Monday, and by the next week when we do a follow-up, in the majority of patients, the polyps would either be completely gone or reduced by about 80 percent. Relief can last for six months or so.”
Simpler screening for cancer of the esophagus and other throat conditions is another aid to otolaryngology physicians, Pazos says. “This test can be done easily, with a very thin scope inserted through the nose, into the esophagus.” It’s useful in a condition commonly known as silent reflux, where stomach acid can pool in parts of the throat. Silent reflux is sometimes linked to a possibility of cancer of the esophagus, “so testing is very helpful.”
Pazos sometimes encounters life-threatening problems in his practice. “About three or four times a year, patients will arrive with severe airway distress, where they probably wouldn’t have made it through the night without a procedure to open the airway right away. It’s very rewarding to help in cases like that,” he says.
About thirty percent of his practice involves pediatric patients, ranging from kids with sinus infections to youngsters with sleep apnea. Surprisingly, the potentially dangerous breathing condition of sleep apnea — often associated with overweight, middle-aged men — is a problem for some children, too, Pazos says.
“There’s been shown to be a significant correlation between children with attention deficit disorder and sleep apnea,” he says. “If it’s not addressed early, the condition can have long-term effects, so sleep apnea should be considered if a young patient has attention deficit disorder and they snore — snoring is the warning sign of sleep apnea. The epidemic of pediatric obesity in the United States also plays a part; we’re seeing more and more children with breathing troubles,” he says.
When Pazos, who lives in Pleasantville, isn’t practicing medicine, he can often be found playing soccer, coaching his three kids’ sports teams, enjoying historical fiction and nonfiction, and traveling.