Dr. Belafsky's primary clinical interests are the comprehensive diagnosis and management of voice, swallowing, and airway disorders. As Medical Director of the Voice and Swallowing Center at UC Davis, Dr. Belafsky treats a wide array of laryngeal and esophageal disorders. These disorders include but are not limited to vocal fold paralysis and paresis, vocal fold dysfunction (VCD), laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), chronic cough, and dysphagia caused by stroke, ALS, Zenker's diverticulum, esophageal motility disorders, Parkinson's disease, and swallowing problems suffered as a consequence of the treatment of head and neck cancer. Dr. Belafsky has pioneered minimally invasive treatments of voice and swallowing disorders. Minimally invasive in-office procedures performed by Dr. Belafsky at the Center include unsedated treatment of laryngeal polyps, leukoplakia, and papillomas, subglottic, tracheal, and esophageal strictures, and office-based vocal fold medialization. Dr. Belafsky's primary research focus is the development of an artificial swallowing mechanism. He has created a medical device that can manually control the upper esophageal sphincter and is working on a comprehensive swallow propulsion system. He is also pursuing his interest in bloodless surgery through the use of radiofrequency probes and non-contact lasers. It is his ultimate goal to establish a bloodless surgery center.Research Focus
Novel and minimally invasive treatments for swallowing disorders, transcutaneous electrical stimulation for dysphagia therapy, esophageal and extraesophageal reflux disease, esophageal cancer.
Head and Neck Surgery
M.D., Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1994
B.A., Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, 1990
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2000
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 2001
American Board of Otolaryngology, 2001
American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
California Medical Society
College of Physicians of Philadelphia
San Diego Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Honors and Awards
Tulane University/Charity Hospital Resident of the Year Nominee, 1999
The American Rhinologic Society, June, The Cottle Centennial Best Research Paper - First prize, 1997
Cum Laude - Vassar College, 1990
Select Recent Publications
Allen J, Belafsky PC. Enoscopic cricopharyngeal myotomy for Zenker diverticulum using the harmonic scalpel. Ear Nose Throat J. 2010 May;89(5):216-8.
Allen JE, White CJ, Leonard RJ, Belafsky PC. Prevalence of penetration and aspiration on videofluoroscopy in normal individuals without dysphagia. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010 Feb;142(2):208-13.
Belafsky PC, Rees CJ, Allen J, Leonard RJ. Pharyngeal dilation in cricopharyngeus muscle dysfunction and Zenker diverticulum. Laryngoscope 2010 May: 120(5):889-94.
Belafsky PC. Manual control of the upper esophageal sphincter.Laryngoscope. 2010 Apr:120 Suppl 1:S1-S16.
Black H, Yoneda K, Millar J, Allen J, Belafsky P. Endoscopic Placement of a Novel Feeding Tube. Chest. 2009 Dec 28
Fuller SC, Leonard R, Aminpour S, Belafsky PC. Validation of the pharyngeal squeeze maneuver. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 140(3): 391-4. 2009
Leonard R, Rees CJ, Belafsky P, Allen J. Fluoroscopic Surrogate for Pharyngeal Strenth: The Pharyngeal Constriction Ratio (PCR). Dysphagia. 2009 Oct 24.
Rees CJ, Fordham T, Belafsky PC. Transnasal balloon dilation of the esophagus. Arch Otolaryngol head Neck Surg. 2009 Aug;135(8):781-3.
Belafsky PC, Rees CJ. Functional esophagoscopy: endoscopic evaluation of the oesophageal phase of deglutition. J Laryngol Otol, Jan(20): 1-4. 2009
Belafsky PC, Rees CJ, Rodriguez K, Pryor JS, Katz PO. Esophagopharyngeal reflux. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 138(1): 57-61. 2008
Belafsky PC, Mouadeb DA, Rees CJ, Pryor JC, Postma GN, Allen J, Leonard RJ. Validity and reliability of the Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10). Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol, 117(12): 919-24. 2008
Pham AM, Rees CJ, Belafsky PC. Endoscopic removal of a giant fibrovascular polyp of the esophagus. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol, 117(8): 587-90. 2008
Leonard R, Belafsky P, McKenzie S. Pharyngeal adaptation in Zenker's diverticulum: the "faux pharyngoesophageal segment" Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 139(3): 424-8. 2008
Doctor VS, Enepekides DJ, Farwell DG, Belafsky PC. Transnasal oesophanoscopy-guided in-office secondary tracheoesophageal puncture. J Laryngol Otol. 2007 Jul 26;1-4.
Pollard RE, Marks SL, Leonard R, Belafsky PC. Preliminary evaluation of the pharyngeal constriction ratio (PCR) for fluoroscopic determination of pharyngeal constriction in dysphagic dogs. Vet Radiol ultrasound. 2007 May-Jun;48(3):221-226.
Leonard R, Belafsky PC, Rees CJ. Relationship between fluoroscopic and manometric measures of pharyngeal constriction: the pharyngeal constriction ration. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2006 Dec:115(12):897-901.