Meet Our Team

Meet Karla O’Dell, MD

Originally published March 21, 2016

Last updated April 30, 2024

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dr. O’Dell is a laryngologist at Keck Medicine of USC, who specializes in hoarseness, swallowing disorders and airway stenosis.

Here’s what you won’t find on her resume.

She will treat you like family.

“My bedside manner is energetic and friendly. I try to treat my patients as if I were taking care of one of my own family members. I enjoy teaching and educating patients about how to not only face but also recover from the problems at hand.”

Helping is her passion.

“As a laryngologist, I treat patients with voice, swallowing and breathing problems. These patients have lost some of the basic human functions, like speaking, eating or breathing. The ability to restore this for someone is the most rewarding part of my job.”

The outdoors is her playground.

“When I’m not at work, I’m spending time with my husband and two young daughters. We love to play at the beach, hike and spend time outside. I have a huge passion for traveling. My favorite travel destination is Bora-Bora. The water is a beautiful clear green-blue, and the sand is bright white. There is amazing sea life and scuba diving. Nothing compares to sleeping in an overwater bungalow.”

She’s a top chef at heart.

“I love being in the kitchen. I enjoy cooking and watching cooking TV shows. It’s a passion of mine.”

Technology has revolutionized her industry.

“The major advances in my field are the expansion of in-office procedures in laryngology. Previously, patients were sent to the operating room and would be put under general anesthesia for treatment of vocal cord paralysis, vocal cord papilloma and laryngeal biopsy. Now we do procedures in the office. Lasers get rid of papilloma. Vocal cord injections and interventions, like injecting steroids, are all done while the patient is awake. Even procedures on the airway, to evaluate breathing, are done in an office environment. This truly benefits the patient, because they don’t have to be put under general anesthesia.”

She’s on the leading edge of research.

“I’m currently involved in some clinical trials. My current research involves optimizing the treatment of airway stenosis and improving swallowing outcomes after surgery.”

She has grown with Keck Medicine.

“I attended medical school and did my residency both at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. I have seen enormous growth in the medical campus over the past 10 years. It has been great to have the opportunity to work with some of the same nurses, operating room staff and fellow physicians over the years. It’s nice to be a part of a place that is bringing in new recruits and growing in size, population and locations. Keck Medicine is changing and expanding every year. The energy behind all of this is just so fun to be a part of.”

View Dr. O’Dell’s full biography and schedule an appointment.