Research Summary

Dr. William R. Ryan is a board-certified, fellowship-trained, head and neck oncologic surgeon and associate professor at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), Bakar Cancer Hospital / Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center at Mission Bay in the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic and Endocrine Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Clinically, Dr. Ryan is skilled in caring for patients with benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck and salivary gland inflammatory disorders with the appropriate application of robotic, endoscopic, minimally invasive, and traditional surgical techniques. He regularly performs ultrasonography in clinic and in the operating room for his patients. He also has special expertise in transoral robotic surgery (TORS), sialendoscopy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, and regional reconstruction of the face, mouth, and neck. Dr. Ryan helps direct the Robotic Head and Neck Surgery Center, Thyroid Surgery Center, and Salivary Gland Surgery Center at UCSF.

Dr. Ryan is committed to providing adequate information and being as accessible as possible to his patients.

Dr. Ryan is actively involved in teaching and mentorship in the UCSF residency and fellowship training programs and the School of Medicine. He serves as the head and neck surgical oncology fellowship co-director. He also directs the year-long Prendergast clinical research fellowship for medical students.

He is a regular invited lecturer and panelist nationally and at UCSF on various aspects of head and neck surgery, salivary duct surgery, and head and neck ultrasound. His research and education interests include functional quality of life outcomes after treatment of human papilloma virus associated (HPV+) oropharynx carcinoma, oral cavity cancer, and salivary tumors, the quality of life impact of sialendoscopic-assisted salivary duct surgery for chronic sialadenitis, surgeon-performed ultrasound applications for the management of salivary disease, the utility of imaging surveillance for various head and neck cancers, and the role of surgery alone for the treatment of HPV+ oropharynx carcinoma. He is the principal investigator in a clinical trial testing the drug ruxolitinib on upper aerodigestive tract squamous cell carcinoma. He has authored over 70 published peer-reviewed journal articles and 4 book chapters. He serves on multiple committees within the American Head and Neck Society. He is a fellow of the Triological Society. He is a regular reviewer for the journals: Laryngoscope, Head and Neck, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, JAMA-Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and several others. He is a co-director for the following 2 annual courses: UCSF/Tripler Pacific Rim Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Update and the UCSF Sialendoscopy/Salivary Duct Surgery Update.

Dr. Ryan earned his medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine in 2005, where he also completed his residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery in 2010. Following his residency, he completed a fellowship in advanced head and neck oncologic and endocrine surgery at UCSF in 2011. He joined the UCSF faculty in 2011.

Away from his career, he enjoys surfing, skiing, playing guitar, seeing music, hiking, healthy food, and time with his friends and family, especially his wife, daughter, and son.

Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Salivary Gland and Duct Surgery and Sialendoscopy, Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery

Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Transoral Robotic Surgery, Surgeon-Performed Ultrasound, Salivary Gland and Duct Surgery and Sialendoscopy, Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery

Professional Interests:
Head and Neck Tumors, transoral robotic surgery, surgeon-performed ultrasound, salivary surgery/sialoendoscopy, thyroid/parathyroid surgery, endoscopic sinus/skull base surgery, and facial reconstruction, outcomes research. salivary function in setting of oncologic treatments, head and neck surgery technique commonalities across the United States, the impact of sialendoscopy on patient symptoms, the benefits and drawbacks of head and neck cancer surveillance with radiology

Education and Training:
• Medical School: Stanford University, CA
• Internship: Stanford University, CA – Head and Neck Surgery
• Residency: Stanford University, CA – Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
• Fellowship: University of California, San Francisco – Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery

Awards and Honors:
• 1997 Phi Beta Kappa, Wesleyan University
• 2004, Best paper by a medical student award, 6th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer, Washington D.C
• 2009, Honorable Mention-Scientific Content Award, Stanford Otolaryngology Resident Research Symposium
• 2011 University of California-San Francisco - Pinnacle Award- Highest Patient Satisfaction Award For A Clinical Division (Granted to the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic/Endocrine Surgery)
• 2012 University of California-San Francisco - Pinnacle Award - Highest Patient Satisfaction Award For A Clinical Division at UCSF (Granted to the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic/Endocrine Surgery)
• 2013 University of California-San Francisco - Pinnacle Award (Honorable Mention / 3rd Place) - Highest Patient Satisfaction Award For A Clinical Division at UCSF (Granted to the Division of Head and Neck Oncologic/Endocrine Surgery)


M.D., 2005 - School of Medicine, Stanford University

Honors & Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa, Wesleyan University, 1997

Selected Publications

  1. Callander JK, Plonowska-Hirschfeld K, Gulati A, Chang JL, Ryan WR. Symptom Outcomes After Sialendoscopy-Assisted Salivary Duct Surgery: A Prospective 6-Year Study. Laryngoscope. 2022 Jul 18.  View on PubMed
  2. Cheung CK, Chew J, Wai K, Calkins SM, Ha PK, Ryan WR, Cunha A, Yom SS, Hsu IC, Chan JW. Feasibility of accelerated image-guided high-dose-rate interstitial brachytherapy with inverse planning simulated annealing (IPSA-HDRBT) for post-operative treatment of pathologically node-negative squamous cell carcinomas of the oral tongue. Brachytherapy. 2022 Sep-Oct; 21(5):686-691.  View on PubMed
  3. Gulati A, Cognetti DM, Cohen DS, Ogden MA, Schaitkin BM, Walvekar RR, Ryan WR, Chang JL. An Updated Patient-Centered Sialadenitis Instrument: The Obstructive Salivary Problem Impact Test (SPIT). Laryngoscope. 2022 Jun 12.  View on PubMed
  4. Scott-Wittenborn N, D'Souza G, Tewari S, Rooper L, Troy T, Drake V, Bigelow EO, Windon MJ, Ryan WR, Ha PK, Kiess AP, Miles B, Westra WH, Mydlarz WK, Eisele DW, Fakhry C. Prevalence of human papillomavirus in head and neck cancers at tertiary care centers in the United States over time. Cancer. 2022 05 01; 128(9):1767-1774.  View on PubMed
  5. Stanford-Moore GB, Sola AM, Chan J, El-Sayed I, George J, Ha P, Ryan WR, Heaton CM. Adjuvant therapy improves survival in pT4aN0 oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma with bone invasion. Am J Otolaryngol. 2022 Mar-Apr; 43(2):103303.  View on PubMed
  6. Zebolsky AL, George E, Gulati A, Wai KC, Carpenter P, Van Zante A, Ha PK, Heaton CM, Ryan WR. Risk of Pathologic Extranodal Extension and Other Adverse Features After Transoral Robotic Surgery in Patients With HPV-Positive Oropharynx Cancer. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 12 01; 147(12):1080-1088.  View on PubMed
  7. Lee RH, Salesky M, Benjamin T, El-Sayed IH, George JR, Ha PK, Ryan WR, Heaton CM. Impact of Smoking and Primary Tumor Subsite on Recurrence in HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2022 04; 166(4):704-711.  View on PubMed
  8. Gillespie MB, Ryan WR. The Science and Art of Salivary Care. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2021 06; 54(3):xv-xvi.  View on PubMed
  9. Larson AR, Ryan WR. Transoral Excision of Parapharyngeal Space Tumors. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2021 Jun; 54(3):531-541.  View on PubMed
  10. Brodie KD, Zebolsky AL, Ochoa E, Ha PK, Heaton CM, El-Sayed IH, Ryan WR. A prospective study of patient-reported xerostomia-related outcomes after parotidectomy. Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2021 Aug; 6(4):683-689.  View on PubMed
  11. Ryan WR, Xu MJ, Ochoa E, Plonowska-Hirschfeld KA, Zebolsky AL, Ha PK, Bewley AF, Mallen-St Clair J, Joshi AS, Coffey CS, Faraji F, MacDonald BV, Houlton JJ, Gobillot TA, Curry JM, Philips R, Hackman TG, Richmon JD, Holcomb AJ, Coughlin AM, Panwar A, Smith RB, Herberg ME, Fakhry C, Cognetti DM. Oncologic outcomes of human papillomavirus-associated oropharynx carcinoma treated with surgery alone: A 12-institution study of 344 patients. Cancer. 2021 09 01; 127(17):3092-3106.  View on PubMed
  12. Strohl MP, Chang CF, Ryan WR, Chang JL. Botulinum toxin for chronic parotid sialadenitis: A case series and systematic review. Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2021 Jun; 6(3):404-413.  View on PubMed
  13. Holcomb AJ, Herberg M, Strohl M, Ochoa E, Feng AL, Abt NB, Mokhtari TE, Suresh K, McHugh CI, Parikh AS, Sadow P, Faquin W, Faden D, Deschler DG, Varvares MA, Lin DT, Fakhry C, Ryan WR, Richmon JD. Impact of surgical margins on local control in patients undergoing single-modality transoral robotic surgery for HPV-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Head Neck. 2021 08; 43(8):2434-2444.  View on PubMed
  14. Andrew R. Larson, Keonho Albert Kong, William R. Ryan, Rohan R. Walvekar. Obstructive Sialadenitis: Stones and Stenoses. Current Otorhinolaryngology Reports. 2021 Mar 30; 9(2):215-222.  View on PubMed
  15. Larson AR, Han M, Webb KL, Ochoa E, Stanford-Moore G, El-Sayed IH, George JR, Ha PK, Heaton CM, Ryan WR. Patient-Reported Outcomes of Split-Thickness Skin Grafts for Floor of Mouth Cancer Reconstruction. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2021; 83(3):151-158.  View on PubMed
  16. Plonowska KA, Ochoa E, Zebolsky AL, Patel N, Hoppe KR, Ha PK, Heaton CM, Ryan WR. Nasogastric tube feeding after transoral robotic surgery for oropharynx carcinoma. Am J Otolaryngol. 2021 May-Jun; 42(3):102857.  View on PubMed
  17. Ochoa E, Stanford-Moore G, Fakhry C, Ryan WR. Predicting Adverse Histopathology and Need for Postsurgical Adjuvant Therapy for Human Papilloma Virus-Associated Oropharynx Carcinoma. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 08; 165(2):309-316.  View on PubMed
  18. Saitou M, Gaylord EA, Xu E, May AJ, Neznanova L, Nathan S, Grawe A, Chang J, Ryan W, Ruhl S, Knox SM, Gokcumen O. Functional Specialization of Human Salivary Glands and Origins of Proteins Intrinsic to Human Saliva. Cell Rep. 2020 11 17; 33(7):108402.  View on PubMed
  19. Wai KC, Xu MJ, Lee RH, El-Sayed IH, George JR, Heaton CM, Knott PD, Park AM, Ryan WR, Seth R, Ha PK. Head and neck surgery during the coronavirus-19 pandemic: The University of California San Francisco experience. Head Neck. 2021 02; 43(2):622-629.  View on PubMed
  20. Plonowska KA, Ochoa E, Ryan WR, Chang JL. Sialendoscopy in Chronic Obstructive Sialadenitis Without Sialolithiasis: A Prospective Cohort Study. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 03; 164(3):595-601.  View on PubMed

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