Discoveries Magazine


The Bone Collector

The Bone CollectorName: Martin L. Hopp, MD Medical Director, Cedars-Sinai Sinus Center; Otolaryngologist, Division of Otolaryngology

Hearing His Calling: “I did an ear, nose, and throat [ENT] rotation in medical school and the physician performed a procedure that allowed a deaf patient to gain normal hearing, just like that, right in front of us. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.”

A Family Affair: “I come from a long line of physicians. Medicine is our family tradition: My dad was an orthodontist and my two brothers are also doctors here at Cedars-Sinai.”

Trailblazer: Ten years ago, Dr. Hopp became one of the first five people in the U.S. to perform image-guided sinus surgery—now a standard procedure around the world. More recently, he led the development of a new approach to treating chronic sinusitis: balloon sinuplasty. The technique employs a special balloon to gently enlarge the sinus openings, allowing for much less tissue removal, faster healing, and reduced scarring compared with conventional surgery. “With the balloon, we can deliver the same results—less congestion, an end to chronic infections, and better overall health—in a way that’s much easier on the patient.”

“Bone”-a-fide Collector: Dr. Hopp’s extensive bone collection includes a moose skull, a caribou skull, an Alaskan rodent, a shark jaw, and even a walrus penis bone. “It’s fascinating to try and understand how bone structure determines what a species looks like. How do we start with this basic framework and end up with the body of a tiger, or a bird, or a human being?”

Reconnaissance Mission: As an ENT physician, Dr. Hopp has had to remove strange objects from his patients’ noses and sinuses. The most common are batteries, small toys, beads, earrings, and food. “Bugs and spiders are by far the most complicated.”

On the Horizzzzzzon: “The next big thing coming down the pike is a new kind of surgery to treat sleep apnea, currently awaiting FDA approval. Half of all patients who seek treatment for sleep apnea do so at the urging of partners or spouses who can’t handle the sleepless nights anymore.”

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