Meet Eric J. Kezirian, MD, MPH, professor of clinical medicine, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Dr. Kezirian is an international leader in the surgical treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. He conducts and uses the latest research to develop new procedures and technologies to improve the treatment of these conditions. Here’s what you won’t find on his resume:
Sleep medicine grabbed his attention early.
“In medical school, I found that I enjoyed caring for people who are in their prime but not able to participate fully in the lives of their families. Sleep apnea and snoring affect the health and quality of life of people of all ages. During medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, the basic science curriculum was unusual in that it included sleep medicine. The sleep lectures were fascinating, and I also could easily empathize with patients affected by sleep disorders.”
He is the only surgeon in Southern California primarily dedicated to the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea.
“Sleep apnea and snoring are both incredibly common, but we have not made as much progress with treatment as we would like. For snoring, surgery is a common treatment, but the results can vary widely. For sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the first-line treatment. The device works by delivering air under pressure into the patient’s airway to prevent blockage of breathing at night. It is great for patients who wear it and sleep comfortably, but many patients do not. Surgery would be an option for them.
Unfortunately, most surgeons have been trained to perform only a single procedure to treat all patients with snoring or sleep apnea with limited benefit. My goal in focusing in this area has been to perform the much wider range of available procedures and to advance the field with research on new surgical techniques and – more importantly – the evaluation of patients so that we select the right procedure to achieve the best possible results.”
He’s a native Angeleno.
“My wife and I were born and raised in Los Angeles. After having practiced at UC San Francisco for many years, I joined the faculty here in August of 2013 right before the birth of our daughter, and it has been great to come home. It is wonderful to raise our daughter so close to my mother and my wife’s parents as well as other family members.”
He comes from a large family.
“I grew up with four brothers, and we all pursued different careers because my parents encouraged us to chase our dreams. My late brother was an attorney who worked extensively in health care law, including serving as the general counsel for the California Department of Corporations. Another brother is an aerospace engineer who works for Boeing with NASA and the space program. One brother runs a public company involved with business process outsourcing, and my youngest brother is a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN. I am the only sibling in medicine.”
He has strong USC roots.
“My grandfather graduated from the USC dental school almost 100 years ago. My mother went to USC for both her undergraduate studies and a master’s degree in education, and she has remained active in the alumni organizations. My father was an OB/GYN and was on the board of the Salerni Collegium Alumni Association for the Keck School of Medicine. My late brother graduated from the law school, and my rocket scientist brother is an adjunct associate professor in Astronautical Engineering at USC. My wife and sister-in-law also received their bachelor’s degrees from USC. Our daughter even has USC pajamas and a burp cloth that says she drools cardinal and gold.”
He likes to keep on the move.
“I enjoy exercising, whether it is hiking in Malibu, playing golf in Griffith Park or playing a pick-up game of soccer with friends now that I have moved back to Los Angeles. Staying active is great for your health and mental outlook, and it helps you sleep better, too.”
If he had not pursued medicine, he would have worked in economics.
“I received my undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in economics with a focus in health economics. I pursued economics before I decided to apply to medical school. It was purely an interest of mine, and my passion for it has never gone away.”
Dr. Eric Kezirian is committed to providing the most targeted, effective and individualized treatment for patients impacted by snoring or sleep apnea.