Q&A with Allison Ogden

photo of Ogden and family in Costa Rica
Allison Ogden, MD, and family enjoyed a recent trip to Costa Rica, from left: daughter Meg, husband Terry Myckatyn, MD, Allison, and daughter Katie.

Washington University comprehensive otolaryngologist and Vice-Chair for Clinical Operations Allison Ogden, MD, seems to have made a habit of WashU – as medical student, resident and faculty member. Attracted to otolaryngology for its unique anatomy and breadth of the specialty, she has built one of the most successful sialendoscopy practices in the Midwest.

How long have you been with WashU?

I have been at WashU forever, it seems! I grew up in Rochester, NY, which is on Lake Ontario in upstate New York and came to St. Louis as a medical student in 1998. I then transitioned to an ENT residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and after graduation in 2007, I joined the faculty.

photo of Ogden and Myckatyn
Ogden catches husband Terry Myckatyn during a rare moment of downtime.

My transition from resident to faculty was relatively smooth.  My teachers-turned-colleagues were very supportive of my continued growth and career development.  My residency here provided me with a solid background, and it was helpful to already know who to approach when I needed to discuss a challenging situation.

There were definitely learning curves, especially as I figured out how to manage the amount of time spent in clinic seeing patients and documentation needs.  We adopted electronic medical records the year I started as faculty, so that was something new to learn.

As a med student, what attracted you to ENT?

Wow – this brings me back to when I was an idealistic, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed medical student. I would have to say it was the anatomy that first piqued my interest.  I still remember a first-year anatomy lecture showing head and neck cancer surgery with reconstruction and being amazed about what could be done to the human head.  As I learned more about ENT, the depth and breadth of the specialty was also very appealing.

You are a comprehensive otolaryngologist, but one that has found a unique specialization in your sialendoscopy practice. What motivated you to pursue that particular area?

My initial interest in sialendoscopy occurred when I was about 1 year into practice and had a patient with a salivary stone in her parotid gland.  I was able to diagnose the problem; however, I remember sitting there wondering what to do next.  So, I did what any young faculty would do in 2008 – I went and found Brian Nussenbaum, MD, who introduced me to the relatively new concept of sialendoscopy (salivary duct endoscopy). Brian and I decided to work together to develop this practice at WashU, and we traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, for training.

photo of Ogden with daughters
Ogden enjoys hiking, especially when accompanied by daughters Meg and Katie (R).

Sialendoscopy is fascinating – for those who are not familiar, the salivary endoscope is a tiny telescope that is used to look “upstream” inside the duct that delivers saliva into the mouth from the salivary glands.  With this technology, we are able to treat problems in the glands – such as removing stones and dilating blockages – that previously we could only manage by treating the symptoms or removing the gland. We are now able to help restore or improve function of salivary glands in a minimally invasive way. On a personal level, it has been rewarding to have helped develop this shift in salivary gland disease management locally in St. Louis, as well as nationally/internationally through participating in educational conferences and panels.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Free time?  I’m not really sure what that is. But, joking aside, I try to find joy in all of my time – whether work-related or outside of work.  There are times this is harder than others, of course, but, I think it’s a good target!

photo of Ogden at a recent Pedal the Cause ride
Ogden powered through a recent Pedal the Cause ride in spite of her watch suggesting a day of rest due to a lack of sleep.

My family life is busy and fun and stimulating.  My husband, Terry Myckatyn, is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at WUSM.  We have two daughters, Katie (16 and driving!) and Meg (14).  We spend a lot of time watching them play soccer and field hockey – which we really enjoy.  I like being active, in general, and try to find time for exercise, including Peloton bike, jogging, walking, and hiking.  I’m looking forward to another Pedal the Cause ride in September.  I also enjoy cooking and eating with family and friends.  I have a vegetable garden that I generously share with the suburban wildlife.

Our beloved goldendoodle Dug recently passed away, and we are welcoming a new puppy into the family in a few weeks.  This will be both insane and fun – I will soon be showing “baby” pictures to anyone who will stop to look!

We also love to travel. Our extended families (parents, siblings, cousins) are scattered all over North America, so visiting usually involves a trip.  Plus, we like to explore new places.  We traveled to Costa Rica this past summer and had a blast.