About Russell Faust

Russell Faust, PhD, MD, FAAP, ABIHM

Russell Faust, PhD, MD, FAAP, ABIHM

Hi. I am Russell Faust, PhD, MD, author of of this site …


For a super-brief bio, see www.about.me/russellfaust

Briefly, I am Board-Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, specialty-trained in Pediatric Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins, and recently (November, 2010), Board-Certified by the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine.

If you’re looking to burn up some time, read on …

Your first thought in reading the following will be, “he’s a huge geek!” Well, I admit it, I am a huge tech geek (and a geek in general). For the curious, here is a deeper description of how I apply my tech interests to improve the practice of  medicine.

My approach to patients:

To summarize my approach to my patients:  I treat you and your children like my own family.  I will never recommend that you consider a treatment or procedure on this blog, or in my clinical practice, that I would not consider for my own children, or my own family.  This makes my job much easier – I don’t need to consider your insurance, or skin color, or anything beyond your medical issues, in order to make a sound recommendation and help you and your children achieve optimal health.

My approach to caring for my patients is to attempt to combine the best that “conventional” and “alternative” medicine have to offer. To integrate them for optimal health. This approach is called “integrative holistic medicine.” See below for a more detailed description of integrative medicine.

I am just a simple pediatric boogor doctor (oto-rhino-laryngologist, popularly referred to as an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) surgeon), trying to make my contribution to the world.  ENT is the oldest board-certified medical specialty in the United States.  It was originally Eye-Ear-Nose-and-Throat.  The study and treatment of eyes became complicated enough that it separated into its own specialty (Ophthalmology) in the 1960s.

What is Otolaryngology?

An ENT doc is specially trained (between 5 and 7 years beyond medical school) in the medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose, throat, and any other structures of the head and neck besides the eyeballs and the brain.  Some of us specialize to operate on these also, but usually as part of a team with an eye surgeon (Ophthalmologist) or brain surgeon (Neurosurgeon).  Some of us specialize beyond the ENT residency to focus on a particular group of patients; I specialized by extending my training through a Fellowship in Pediatric ENT.

I am board-certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology.  My MD is from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where I remained for residency training in Otolaryngology (before that I earned my PhD in cell and molecular biology from the University of Washington, Seattle).  Following residency I received advanced Fellowship training in Pediatric Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutes.

Why ENT?

When I was in medical school and I was considering the various fields of medicine to go into, the docs in ENT told me half-jokingly that ENT stood for Early Nights and Tennis.  I was hooked.  They lied.  Most academic ENT docs put in somewhere between 70 and 80 hours per week, teaching medical students and resident physicians, preparing and giving lectures to other physicians about updates in our specialty, seeing patients in clinics, operating on some of these patients, going to see acutely ill patients in the emergency department, going to see acutely ill patients admitted to the hospital, and generally trying to provide the best possible care to our patients.  There are few early nights, and I haven’t played tennis in over 20 years.  Still, it is a great life!  Any medical students in this reader community should give ENT serious consideration as a great way of life.

Personal:  I have a wonderful family, with a wife that represents not my better half, but my better 90% (maybe more), and we are blessed with 3 relatively healthy children.  Luckily, none of them are overly troubled by the things that I write about.  On the other hand, I have been plagued by many of the chronic disorders that I write about here, and my own struggle with allergies (food and airborne) and recurrent and chronic sinusitis started as a kid.

Why Integrative?

My own frustration with conventional medical treatment of my allergies and sinusitis has led me gradually to embrace an integrated holistic approach to my own disease, and therefore, a similar approach to my patients.  This approach has been successful and profoundly gratifying.

My clinical practice focuses on children with asthma, allergies, rhinitis, sinusitis, otitis, and reflux, and helping them to avoid surgery.

Helping them to be healthy.

My goal is to combine the best of conventional and alternative medicine to help these children achieve optimal health.

By integrative and holistic I don’t mean that I will tell you to sit under a pyramid or tape a crystal to your forehead.  I am a scientist by training after all.  Any treatment that I think you should consider will be based on proven results from real clinical trials.  This is called “evidence-based medicine.” Without results, alternative treatment recommendations are just ideas.  Ideas are a good thing, and some things are worth considering even it there is not much evidence to support them, if they have no associated risk. It’s all about the risk:benefit balance, as with any remedy.

Results are what count.

By integrative I mean that together, you and I will combine the best that conventional and alternative medicine have to offer, to tackle some of the most challenging problems in medicine today.  By holistic I mean that the whole person should be treated, not just their nose, or their toe, or whatever area has “the disease“.

The fact is, most of the chronic challenges that I address here on this blog are not truly “diseases,” but simply imbalances in our natural systems. Many of the treatments that I discuss are proven to achieve health by re-balancing those systems.

By working with a multi-disciplinary group of docs from various specialties (Allergy, Immunology, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, as well as Naturopathic Doctors, in addition to ENT), we have been 80-90% successful in our goal of avoiding surgery by re-establishing a healthy balance through an integrative approach – using the best from traditional and alternative medicine.  Even for those few whose problem is so severe that they warrant surgery, my approach has been minimally-invasive surgery, meaning to do the very least amount of surgery to obtain the very greatest benefit, and only as a last resort. After all, if they do need surgery, no one is more deserving of minimally-invasive surgery than our children.

American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine

American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine

I am scheduled to sit for the certification exam to become Board Certified by the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. This is scheduled for November, 2010. [Update December 2010: I passed !!! Whoohoo!!] I am really looking forward to learning more about combining the best of conventional and alternative medicine for the benefit of my patients.

Using the Viking 3D Endoscopic System (that’s me on the left)

with Dr. Charles Gross, and Kathy Gross

My area of surgical expertise is in minimally-invasive surgery (MIS) for pediatric ENT in general, and specifically for the sinuses, and endoscopic surgery for abnormalities of the skull base – encephaloceles, tumors, fractures.  My interest in MIS was inspired by Dr. Charles Gross when he convinced me that I could repair a skull base encephalocele using endoscopes through the nose, without need for the usual craniotomy, back in 2000.  We were successful, and I was hooked.  This interest in MIS was further developed when working with the Robotic Surgery Program at Michigan Children’s Hospital.  That experience led me to publish the first general text on robotic surgery:  Robotics in Surgery: History, Current and Future Applications. (boogordoctor’s Amazon Store affiliate link)

All of this should make you suspect that I am a tech geek. I admit it, I am a tech geek, applying that passion to improving  medicine.