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    Jeffrey R. Janus, M.D.

    Building the Future. One breakthrough at a time.

    Improving surgical precision with customized 3-d printed tools

    Jeffrey R. Janus, M.D.

    Professor of Otolaryngology, Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology

    Jacksonville, Florida

    I think I knew I liked working with my hands at a very young age. My dad was a handyman and had me help him on projects. We would build decks together or install vanities and bathrooms together, and most of my journey, I think, has been sort of punctuated with these very influential people for me. Anatomy is sophisticated, the anatomy's beautiful. It's this perfect blend of aesthetic surgery and cancer surgery. Having the ability to refine a process where we are able to use things like 3D modeling and printing to be able to help us, by hand, rebuild somebody's jaw to make it something that's, that's going to give a patient a better outcome. That's Innovation that's just not being satisfied with the status quo for very long, if at all. I kind of knew that I just liked seeing the way that things come together. It's kind of the beautiful thing about it.

    It’s like making parts for a cabinet or a sophisticated table, and then watching them fit together in a way that actually looks like you want it to look.

    You could say that Dr. Janus was made for this. A born builder with an inventive spirit. To craft and construct. To innovate and collaborate with a team that shares his passion and determination to defy the impossible and create the unimaginable.

    Long before becoming a world-renowned surgeon, Dr. Janus honed his skills as a builder in the art of woodworking. A craft with many similarities to his surgical profession; because it demands the utmost precision, attention to detail, and the ability to think three-dimensionally.

    With his keen eye and imaginative nature, Dr. Janus saw potential to build upon the 3-D printing techniques that other surgeons at Mayo Clinic had already developed, in order to solve the most complex challenges faced by many of his patients in head and neck cancer surgery.

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    “It’s like making parts for a cabinet or a sophisticated table, and then watching them fit together in a way that actually looks like you want it to look,” says Dr. Janus. “Whereas before you were fiddling with these pieces, and now — to use a woodworking term — they fit together ‘dovetail tight’ and everything is perfect.”

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    And perfect is something he’s proven to be attainable. Dr. Janus collaborated with his colleagues in the onsite 3-D printing lab to improve upon a very complicated surgical process. Using high-definition 3-D printers, the team fabricates an exact copy of a patient’s facial structure, including the section of damaged or diseased bone that needs to be removed.

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    They use the 3-D printed replica to make surgical cutting guides to ensure the precise amount of damaged bone is cut away, and that the replacement bone they harvest from the patient’s leg is cut to fit perfectly in its place. Ensuring the bone-to-bone connection in a patient’s jaw, for example, is restored to its full function with minimal change in the patient’s appearance.


    “That's innovation to me. It's just always taking that next step, whether it's using augmented reality to be able to see parathyroid while you're doing surgery or to see tumors as you take them out. Or changing the way that you cut bone to make it something that's going to give a patient a better outcome,” says Dr. Janus.


    As someone who understands the value of collaboration and teamwork, Dr. Janus is working together with his surgical colleagues in Otolaryngology, (also known as Ear, Nose, and Throat or ENT) to use 3-D printing to enhance the process of treating advanced head and neck cancer; often working in teams. The approach often saves his patients hours in surgery and results in quicker recovery times.

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    That's innovation to me. It's just always taking that next step.

    “It's a beautiful thing to watch multiple head and neck surgeons fulfill their role in removing the cancer and reconstructing the patient. It's energizing, honestly,” says Dr. Janus. “These cases can take upwards of 12 hours without this technology and a team approach using multiple surgeons. With 3-D guides and extremely talented partners, you’re giving someone a more precise surgery while simultaneously saving the patient four to six hours of surgical time. Being more precise while being more efficient is ultimately better for the patient.”

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    Because Dr. Janus and his team treat a high volume of complex cases, including thyroid cancer, parathyroid disease, parotid tumors, and tumors of the tonsil and tongue base, he’s always looking for a better way. This high level of experience leads to world-class expertise; but he isn’t content with maintaining the status quo. Patients can count on Dr. Janus to continue improving, innovating, and imagining new techniques to reduce surgery time, speed recovery, and improve the lives of his patients.

    Creating what’s never been before would seem like the ultimate reward, but for Dr. Janus, the most fulfilling part of what he does happens outside the operating room, when his patients return for their quarterly and yearly scheduled follow-up visits. “When I’m able to see that they’re healthy, living their best lives, and thriving with the passage of time,” he says, “it’s uplifting not just for them, but for me as well.”

    Jeffrey Janus, M.D.

    Dr. Jeffrey R. Janus is currently the Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. He is a board certified, fellowship trained, Head and Neck Oncologic and Reconstructive Surgeon who is leading groundbreaking work in patient-centered care. Dr. Janus joined Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota from 2008-2019, and transferred to Mayo Clinic Florida in 2020. Dr. Janus is an active researcher, educator, mentor, and renowned expert in his field.

    Learn more about Dr. Janus
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    Head and neck cancer care

    Mayo Clinic experts offer compassionate, comprehensive care to those with head and neck cancers.

    Learn more about head and neck cancer
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    Parotid tumor surgery

    Parotid tumor treatment often involves surgery to remove the tumor.

    Learn more about parotid tumor surgery
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    Thyroid surgery

    Thyroidectomy options to treat cancer, noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid (goiter) and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

    Learn more about thyroid surgery
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    Parathyroid surgery

    Surgical options to remove one or more of the parathyroid glands, or a tumor that's affecting a parathyroid gland.

    Learn more about parathyroid surgery
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    Da Vinci transoral robotic surgery

    Transoral robotic surgery gives the surgeon a better view of the cancer and the tissue around it.

    Learn more about da vinci transoral robotic surgery
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    Oropharyngeal tumors

    Throat cancer develops in the throat (pharyngeal cancer) or in the voice box (laryngeal cancer).

    Learn more about oropharyngeal tumors

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