Joseph Sniezek
Joseph C. Sniezek, MD FACS

Joseph C. Sniezek, MD FACS

Joseph C. Sniezek, MD FACS

Head and Neck Surgery, Otolaryngology, Robotic Surgery

Clinical Interests / Special Procedures Performed

Endocrine Surgery, Fine Needle Aspiration, Gland Problems, Head and Neck Surgery, Oral Lesions, Otolaryngology, Parathyroid Surgery, Skin Cancer Surgery, Skull-Base Tumors, Swedish Cancer Institute, Thyroid Biopsy, Thyroid Surgery, TransOral Surgery (Robotic), Tumors of Oral Cavity, Pharynx and Neck, Ultrasound, Ultrasound-Guided Biopsy

  • Accepting Children: Yes
  • Accepting New Patients: Yes
  • Accepting Medicare: Yes
  • Accepting Medicaid/DSHS: Yes
Payment Methods Accepted:


Insurance Accepted:


Philosophy of Care

Cutting-edge, compassionate care centered on the needs of the individual patient.

Personal Interests

surfing, paddling, running

Medical School

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, SAUSHEC


Head & Neck Surgery, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Board Certifications

Diplomate, American Board of Otolaryngology



Professional Associations:

American College of Surgeons, American Academy Of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, American Head & Neck Society, Triological Society


American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery Certificate of Honor Award, 2011 ;• Triological Society, Western Section Vice-President’s Citation Award. January 2011

JOURNALS Hong SS, Yheulon CG, Wirtz ED, Sniezek JC. Otolaryngology and Medical Malpractice: a review of the past decade, 2001-2011. Laryngoscope 2014: 1254(4), 896-901.Hong SS, Yheulon CG, Sniezek JC. Salivary gland surgery and medical malpractice. Otolaryngol Head and Neck Surgery 2013; 148(4):589-594. Klem C, Sniezek JC, Moore B, et al. Microvascular reconstructive surgery in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom: the US military experience performance free flaps in a combat zone. J Trauma Acute Care Surg 2013; 75(2-Suppl 2):S228-S232. Ruhl DS, Sheridan MF, Sniezek JC. Papillary thyroid carcinoma in a branchial cleft cyst without a thyroid primary: navigating a diagnostic dilemma. Case Reports in Otolaryngol 2013; Article ID 405342. http:// Sniezek JC, Sofferman RA. Head and neck ultrasound. Ultrasound Clinics 2012; 7(2). Groom KL, Ruhl DS, Sniezek JC. Mantle cell lymphoma presenting as a saccular cyst. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery 2012; 146(1):173-4. Sniezek JC, Sofferman RA. Preface, Head and neck ultrasound. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America 2010; 43(6): ix-x. Sniezek JC. Head and neck ultrasound: why now? Otolaryngology Clinics of North America 2010; 43 (6): 1143-1147. Robitschek J, Straub M, Wirtz E, Klem C, Sniezek J. Diagnostic efficacy of surgeon-performed ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration: a randomized controlled trial. Otol Head Neck Surg 2010; 142 (3): 306-309. Punch GE, Sniezek JC, Berkey BD, Peterman GW. A Benign, Mature, Parapharyngeal Teratoma Presenting in an Adult. Radiology Case Reports. [Online] 2007; 2:46. Smith RB, Sniezek JC, Weed DT, Wax MK. Utilization of free tissue transfer in head and neck surgery. Otol Head Neck Surg 2007; 137:182-191. Vanisky EJ, Almony JS, Wargo AJ, Sniezek JC. Left posterior lateral pharyngeal space injection during ambulatory general anesthesia third molar surgery: a case report. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2006; 64(2): 339-43. Carpenter JM, Syms MJ, Sniezek JC. Oral carcinoma associated with betel nut chewing in the Pacific: an impending crisis? PHD 2005; 12(1): 158-162. Donovan DJ, Huynh TV, Purdom EB, Johnson RE, Sniezek JC. Osteoradionecrosis of the cervical spine resulting from radiotherapy for primary head and neck malignancies: operative and nonoperative management. Journal of Neurosurgery:Spine 2005; 3:159-164. Sniezek JC, Matheny KE, Westfall MD, Pietenpol JA. Dominant negative p63 isoform expression in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Laryngoscope 2004 (Dec); 114(12):2063-2072. Marathe US, Sniezek JC. Use of the vacuum-assisted closure device in enhancing closure of a massive skull defect. Laryngoscope 2004 (Jun); 114(6):961-964. Boole JR, Ramsey M, Peterman G, Sniezek J. Radiology quiz case. Grisel syndrome with vertebral osteomyelitis and spinal epidural abscess. Archives of Otolaryngology/ Head Neck Surgery 2003 Nov; 129(11):1247. Matheny KE, Barbieri CE, Sniezek JC, Arteaga CL, Pietenpol JA. Inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor signaling decreases p63 expression in head and neck squamous carcinoma cells. Laryngoscope 2003 (Jun); 113(6):936-9. Westfall MD, Mays DJ, Sniezek JC, Pietenpol JA. The Delta Np63 alpha phosphoprotein binds the p21 and 14-3-3 sigma promoters in vivo and has transcriptional repressor activity that is reduced by HayWells syndrome-derived mutations. Mol Cell Biol 2003 (Apr); 23(7):2264-76. Sniezek JC, Francis TB. Inflammatory thyroid disorders. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America 2003 (Feb); 36:55-71. Sniezek JC, Holtel M. Rare tumors of the thyroid gland. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America 2003 (Feb); 36:107-115. Sniezek JC, Matheny KE, Burkey BB, Netterville JL, Pietenpol JA. Expression of p63 and 14-3-3σ in normal and hyper-differentiated mucosa of the upper aerodigestive tract. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 2002; 126(6):598-601. Sniezek JC, Sabri A, Netterville JL. Paraganglioma surgery:complications and treatment. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America 2001(Oct); 34(5): 993-1006. Sniezek JC, Sabri A, Netterville JL. Vagal Paragangliomas. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America 2001 (Oct); 34(5):925-939. Sniezek JC, Sabri A, Burkey BB, Barillo DJ. Reconstruction after burns of the face and neck. Current opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery 2000; 8:277-281. Sabri A, Sniezek JC, Burkey BB. Sensate Free Flaps. Operative Techniques in Otolaryngology-Head and neck Surgery 2000; 11(3): 195-197. Sniezek JC, Johnson RE, Hayes DK, Ramirez SG. Laryngoceles and Saccular Cysts. Southern Medical Journal 1996; 89(4): 427-30. BOOK CHAPTERS Sniezek JC, Burkey BB. Airway control and laryngotracheal stenosis in adults. In OtorhinolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery, 16th edition. 2003 (Ballenger JJ, Snow JB, ed.) Hamilton, Ontario: B.C. Decker, Inc., 1151-1167. Sniezek JC. Local treatment modalities for recurrent cancer of the head and neck. Atlas of Cancer 2003, Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 28-31. Sniezek JC, Holtel M. Penetrating injuries of the face and neck. United Nations Emergency War Surgery Handbook 2002.

Thyroid Nodules: Deciding when to observe and when to intervene

The majority of thyroid nodules are benign (non-cancerous) and if they aren’t causing symptoms, such as pressure or swallowing difficulties, they can be left alone and monitored on a regular basis by ultrasound examinations. However, thyroid nodules can convert from a benign to a malignant state. If a patient elects observation of his/her thyroid nodule, a repeat follow-up and ultrasound examination should be performed. Six to 12 months is generally accepted as a reasonable period of time before repeating physical and ultrasound examinations. An ultrasound-guided biopsy, known as a fine needle aspiration (FNA) should be repeated if the nodule grows in size or any new concerning features appear in the ultrasound imaging. This biopsy is done with local anesthetic (similar to dental procedures). In our clinic, we eliminate the need for multiple visits by performing the biopsy during the same office visit as the ultrasound examination whenever necessary. We also understand how unnerving it can be to wait for test results to be available. We have our pathologist examine the biopsy sample while the patient waits so we can provide the results during the same visit. This reduces stress and the inconvenience of multiple appointments.

Detecting thyroid cancer using ultrasound

The incidence of thyroid cancer is steadily increasing in the U.S. while the reasons for this increase are still unclear.  No environmental exposure or lifestyle trend has been linked to this recent rise but interestingly, some researchers believe that the increasing use of ultrasound in evaluating the neck and thyroid has raised the number of cancers being detected at earlier stages. Regardless of the cause of this recent uptick in thyroid cancer, there is no doubt that ultrasound has fundamentally changed the way in which thyroid lesions and cancers are evaluated and followed.
Ultrasound technology has undergone a dramatic improvement in recent years providing clear and precise images without exposing the patient to any radiation.  Thyroid nodules that are suspicious for malignancy can now be identified before they are large enough to be felt in the neck by the patient or health care provider.

When a  ...

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in Head and Neck Cancer

Cancer of the oropharynx (throat) has undergone a drastic and dramatic change over the last decade.  In the past, most throat cancers were linked with prolonged cigarette smoking and alcohol use.  Now, the occurrence of throat cancer is rising and 80-90% is likely caused by an infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV).  Many high-profile personalities, including actor Michael Douglas, have recently revealed that they have experienced HPV-related throat cancer.

What causes HPV-related Oropharynx cancer?

Infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is known to cause genital warts and lead to various genital cancers, but now it appears to also cause the majority of throat cancers.  The types of HPV that lead to throat cancer are generally sexually transmitted, though some researchers believe that even kissing may result in HPV transmission.   The time period from HPV exposure to the development of a throat cancer is often decades. Although the cancer may be slow-growing, it is important to have annual check-ups with your physician and dentist who can assess your oral health appropriately. 
How is HPV-related Oropharynx cancer treated?

HPV-related throat cancer can ...
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Swedish Head & Neck Surgery / First Hill
1221 Madison Street
Arnold Pavilion, Suite 1523
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-292-6464
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