About Steven Zeitels, MD, FACS

Steven Marc Zeitels, MD, FACS, (born November 7, 1957 in New York City and grew up in New Rochelle, New York) is the Eugene B. Casey professor of Laryngeal Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation (Voice Center), which is the most comprehensive facility of its kind in the world. He is an internationally-recognized surgeon specializing in throat, voice and larynx problems.

In 2004, the first endowed chair in Laryngeal Surgery at Harvard Medical School was created for him while he re-established a Harvard Laryngeal Surgery service at Mass General, which had not been present since the 1920s. Dr. Zeitels’ contributions to voice and laryngeal surgery are highly recognized in the world. He has received more than 75 awards and honored lectureships for his achievements including the Casselberry and Newcomb Awards from the American Laryngological Association and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Boston University School of Medicine.

Zeitels is widely regarded as a prolific surgical innovator having designed numerous new voice restoration procedures (phonosurgery) and instruments, and holds a number of patents for these innovations. He is widely acknowledged for pioneering novel laser applications to treat dysplasia and cancer as well as laryngeal papillomatosis, polyps, nodules and is also well known for creating office-based laryngeal laser surgery. Most notably, his introduction of angiolytic laser treatment of vocal cord cancer was a groundbreaking achievement evolving from Judah Folkman’s concepts of tumor angiogenesis and Rox Anderson’s theory of selective photothermolysis.

In the Media

Dr. Zeitels has also designed unique procedures to restore the voice of those who have had vocal paresis and paralysis. His techniques were featured in a National Geographic documentary, “The Incredible Human Machine”, which highlighted Dr. Zeitels’ microsurgery on Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. In addition, his novel surgical treatment of Roger Daltrey (The Who) just prior to his halftime performance in the 2010 Super Bowl was discussed extensively on CBS news. In 2012 there was broad international coverage of Dr. Zeitels’ unique microsurgery to restore Adele’s voice, who acknowledged his assistance in the acceptance of the first of her six Grammy Awards.

In 2013, a long-form profile of Dr. Zeitels’ career and innovations were featured in the New Yorker Magazine. His work has also been featured in the Harvard Medical Alumni Journal, the Harvard Magazine and the Boston University Alumni Journal as well as has been discussed extensively in print media, radio and television both nationally and internationally including:

  • Good Morning America
  • Today Show
  • Wall Street Journal
  • NY and LA Times
  • London Sunday Times
  • Rolling Stone
  • USA Today
  • Vogue
  • Boston Globe & Herald
  • Bloomberg News
  • NPR
  • BBC
  • National Geographic
  • Nightline

Notable Patients

He has done career-saving surgery on hundreds of American and international performing vocalists. Media venues have discussed the surgical and medical care of a number of Dr. Zeitels’ celebrity patients including Adele, Julie Andrews, Steven Tyler and Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith), Cher, Roger Daltrey (The Who), Lionel Richie, Keith Urban, Paul Stanley (Kiss), James & Livingston Taylor, Denyce Graves, Frederica von Stade, Connie Fisher, Joe Buck, Doc Rivers (Boston Celtics) and Dick Vitale. In 2012, Dr. Zeitels was listed 13 in Rolling Stone’s ‘25 Best Things in Rock Right Now’ and 14 in Fast Company’s ‘100 most Creative People’.

Voice Health Institute

Dr. Zeitels’ patients have been strong supporters of research and education and formed the nonprofit Voice Health Institute (VHI) to help others with laryngeal and voice disorders. Julie Andrews serves as the Honorary Chairwoman of the VHI and is accompanied on the VHI’s Advisory Board by:

  • Steven Tyler
  • Roger Daltrey
  • Lionel Richie
  • Paul Stanley
  • Christina Perri
  • Connie Fisher
  • Joe Buck
  • Dick Vitale

Voice Restoration Research Program

Dr. Zeitels conceived and directs the Voice Restoration Research Program, which is a collaborative effort of investigators at Harvard, Mass General and MIT. The program has spent over a decade developing a biomaterial that would restore the largest majority of human voice loss. The research group received the 2010 Broyles Maloney Award of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association for its efforts.

Additional Achievements

Dr. Zeitels’ single-author Atlas of Phonomicrosurgery is considered by many surgeons to be the leading textbook in microsurgery of the larynx. Dr. Zeitels has authored more than 200 scientific articles, book chapters and videos in these areas as well as presenting over 300 papers and lectures. He serves or has served on the editorial board of five national and international journals. Dr. Zeitels has also been the honored guest of many international organizations.

Visiting Professor Appointments

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Columbia University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of California (San Diego & Irvine)
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Texas (Dallas)
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Utah
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of West Virginia
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Navarra - Pamplona in Spain
  • Tel Aviv University in Israel
  • Aukland University in New Zealand
  • Kumamoto University in Japan
  • McGill & Dalhousie Universities in Canada
  • Juilliard School

Departments, Centers & Programs:

Clinical Interests:



Medical Education

  • MD, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Residency, Boston Medical Center
  • Fellowship, Boston Medical Center

American Board Certifications

  • Otolaryngology