Bryan L. Richards, MD

The specialty of otolaryngology — more commonly known as ear, nose and throat — drew Dr. Bryan Richards because of its range of diagnoses and patients.

ENT “has a great cross mix of young and old, male and female,” he said. “It’s a specialty with a broad range of pathologies and problems. You might have an easy problem like a child needing ear tubes one minute and a patient with cancer the next.”

Dr. Richards, a native of Salt Lake City, began his higher education by receiving a B.S. at the University of Utah. He remained in Salt Lake City to earn his M.D. from the U of U School of Medicine.

During his five-year residency in ENT and Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Conn., Dr. Richards was named Chief Resident.

His education remains ongoing as he is a diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology and the National Board of Medical Examiners. He is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery.

Dr. Richards has been active in leadership at Davis Hospital and Medical Center since his arrival at Tanner Clinic in 1999. He recently served as president of the medical staff at Davis Hospital, as well as a member of the governing board. Other appointments at Davis include chair of the credentialing committee, chief of the surgery section and member of the medical executive committee.

He’s also served on the board of directors at Davis Surgical Center for eight years, operating as chairman for two of those years.

Dr. Richards’ humanitarian work includes a medical excursion to Haiti in the weeks following the January 2010 earthquake.

Dr. Richards is married and the father of five sons. They’re among his companions in his favorite activities of golf, water skiing, scuba diving, hiking and camping.

What patients are saying about Dr. Richards

“Dr. Richards cares about his patients. He has taken care of my wife for 10 years and goes above and beyond what many doctors would. We trust him completely and recommend him highly.” Ben on Google+, January 28, 2016

“Dr. Richards is our ENT and is fabulous! He did in 10 minutes what others had not been able to do for 10 years! We are so grateful for his expertise!”   —  Alicia on Facebook, Feb. 2, 2015

“Dr. Richards is the best ENT. He has taken care of several of my issues and I am thankful he has been there. Seeing him does not seem like a medical merry-go-round; he explains everything and never seems in a hurry.”   —  Michelle on Facebook, Oct. 15, 2014

“Dr. Richards really is the best! He was my daughter’s surgeon and he took great care of her. He even came to visit her a day after his own surgery! He came into her room to check on her pulling his own IV. We adore this doc!”   —  Cindy on Facebook, Oct. 15, 2014

“Amazing, fast, professional service — from the receptionists, nurses and Dr. Richards. Wow! You are absolutely the example to follow in medical care. Thank you for a pleasant experience during a stressful time.”   — In-clinic review card, July 15, 2014

“Iwould like to say thank you to Dr. Bryan Richards and his team that assisted him with my son’s surgeries. Since my son had new tubes put in and adenoids taken out and a growth taken off his face, he has done a full 360 and his attitude is so much better. He can hear a lot more and doesn’t act out in daycare or school any more. He is more calm now. Thank you so much!”   —  In-clinic review card posted on Facebook, April 10, 2014

Small Ear Tumor Is Benign but Not Trouble-Free, Says ENT Specialis

Hearing loss accompanied with ear drainage and infection may signal the presence of a small benign tumor in the ear.

But don’t be fooled by the “benign” description, says Dr. Bryan Richards, otolaryngologist at Tanner Clinic Layton. This cholesteatoma, as it’s called, can wreak devastation in the middle ear.

A growth of wayward skin and dead cells is the base of a cholesteatoma, which is usually no bigger than a candy M&M, said Dr. Richards, an ENT specialist.

It’s not a common condition, but with a rate of 1 in a 1,000 it’s not exactly rare.

A cholesteatoma can go unnoticed for some time. When symptoms appear, however, they’ll catch your attention. It usually produces these signs:

Loss of hearing: Usually happens over a long period        of time
Ear drainage: Appears as a smelly pus or fluid
Frequent infections: Ear infections that just won’t go        away
Difficulty in equalizing pressure: Particularly when          flying

Normally, these symptoms would send most of us scuttling to an ENT, but Dr. Richards said he’s seen patients who’ve long neglected those signs. “Someone who’s had an ear that drains foul-smelling liquid for months almost always has a cholesteatoma,” said Dr. Richards. “But some people will go a long time with it before coming in.”

It all involves the eardrum

A cholesteatoma forms and grows because of one of two reasons, said Dr. Richards.

1. A hole or tear in the eardrum that doesn’t heal correctly.

Many things can pierce the eardrum. Probably the most common is an infection that causes a buildup of pus and fluid. That soupy mix places so much pressure on the ear that the eardrum ruptures.

Injury or trauma can also rupture or perforate an eardrum. This could be anything from a blow to the side of the head or a change in ear pressure — or the overzealous use of a cotton swab.

2. A “pocket” that grows on the eardrum.

A “retraction pocket” forms when a negative pressure builds inside the ear and sucks the eardrum inward. The resulting pocket traps dead skin cells, which multiply and form the tumor.

What causes negative pressure? It has to do with the Eustachian tube, the ear’s pressure regulator. When it becomes blocked by allergies, inflamed sinuses or an upper-respiratory infection, the result is negative pressure.

Sometimes, added Dr. Richards, the cholesteatoma envelopes and destroys the middle ear bones that transfer the eardrum’s vibrations into the inner ear.

Surgery may be only remedy

Medications can control the nonstop infections to some degree, said Dr. Richards, but the only fix for a cholesteatoma is surgery.

The surgery is complex because ear bones are so tiny and delicate. The ear, he adds, is “not designed for surgery,” he said. The surgery itself can last up to several hours, he said. Recovery from this outpatient procedure is generally about a week.

A cholesteatoma is no respecter of age — it can appear at any age. “It’s not a disease of old people; it’s not a disease of young people,” he said. “It’s a disease in people who have chronic ear infections.”

But some people — generally older people — sometimes think hearing loss is just a function of age and they’ll buy hearing aids to compensate. “In reality,” he adds, “the hearing loss may be fixable.”



ENT Doctor Shows YouTube Surgery from His View
YouTube videos that show Dr. Bryan Richards performing tonsillectomies and other procedures have earned more than 4 million views. The YouTube videos have gone viral worldwide.

He may look like the knowledgeable, authoritative ear, nose and throat specialist that he indeed is, but to us, Dr. Bryan Richards is a YouTube rock star.

Believe it or not, this Tanner Clinic otolaryngologist has four videos on YouTube that together have racked up more than 4 million hits.

That’s more than 4,100,000 viewers, give or take a few thousand. And the videos do not even include cute cats.
The two recordings are of tonsil-related surgeries performed by Dr. Richards.

One video shows an actual tonsillolith procedure to remove a nest of “tonsil stones.” Tonsil stones, which are more common in adults than children, result from a buildup of food particles, dead cells and mucus trapped in the tonsils. This matter calcifies into “little, dry rock things,” said Dr. Richards.

The main symptoms of tonsil stones are mild sore throats and really, really bad breath.

Another tonsil-related video shows the removal of a second tonsil using a “bovie” rather than the traditional scalpel. A bovie is a medical device that cuts and cauterizes tissues and blood vessels with a direct electrical current.

UPDATE: The local newspaper ran a feature on Dr. Richards’ videos, which was then picked up by news services in early November 2014. Stories about Dr. Richards’ ‘gross out’ videos have ‘gone viral,’ appearing in South Africa, Ireland, Italy, Azerbaijan and more. Visit this post to learn more.

Click here to see all of Dr. Richards’ videos.

— Tanner Clinic staff

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