Skip to main content.

Kiran Kakarala, MD, MA, FACS

Kiran Kakarala portrait
Vice Chair, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement , Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Co-Director, Fellowship in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology , Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Professor, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery


Professional Background

Dr. Kakarala is Professor and Vice Chair for Patient Safety and Quality Improvement in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. He also serves as Director of the Fellowship in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction accredited by the American Head and Neck Society. Dr. Kakarala came to the University of Kansas in 2012 after completing medical school and residency at Harvard Medical School and a fellowship in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction at the James Cancer Center of the Ohio State University.
His clinical expertise includes the surgical management of benign and malignant conditions of the head and neck, including oral and throat cancers, thyroid, parathyroid, skin, and salivary gland tumors. He has a particular interest in microvascular free flap reconstruction after major head and neck surgery, as well as transoral robotic surgery for tumors of the back of the throat.
Dr. Kakarala is active in several professional organizations including the American Head and Neck Society, for which he has served on the Quality, Ethics, and History committees and currently serves as Vice-Chair for the Salivary Section. He was a member of the Microvascular committee of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and is a current member of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
His research interest centers around improving the quality of head and neck cancer care. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and has given presentations at local, regional, national, and international head and neck surgery meetings.
A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Princeton University in 2001, he went on to receive a Fulbright Fellowship to the United Kingdom where he earned a Masters in Health Care Ethics and Law with Distinction in 2002. He was awarded the Chief Resident Teaching award by the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School Department of Otolaryngology in 2011, and the Faculty Teaching Award by the University of Kansas Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 2015. Since 2020, he has been recognized as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor.

Education and Training
  • Other, Philosophy, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
  • MA, Health Care Ethics and Law (with Distinction), University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • MA, Health Care Ethics and Law (with Distinction), University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Residency, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Harvard Combined Residency Program in Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Clinical Fellowship, Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction, James Cancer Center - The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio
Professional Affiliations
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Committee, Member, 2021 - Present
  • American Head and Neck Society , Salivary Section, Vice Chair, 2021 - Present
  • American Head and Neck Society , Patient Education Commitee, Member, 2021 - Present
  • American Head and Neck Society , Population Health and Clinical Research Committee, Member, 2021 - Present
  • American Head and Neck Society , Salivary Section, Member, 2018 - 2021
  • American Head and Neck Society , Program Committee 2019 Annual Meeting, Member, 2018 - 2019
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Microvascular Committee, Member, 2015 - 2018

Publications
  • Alvi, S., A, Hamill, C., S, Lepse, J., P, Ayala, M, Girod, D., A, Tsue, T., T, Shnayder, Y, Kakarala, K. 2018. Outcomes after free tissue transfer for composite oral cavity resections involving skin.. Head & neck, 40 (5), 973-984
  • Kakarala, K, Bhattacharyya, N. 2010. Survival in oral cavity minor salivary gland carcinoma.. Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 143 (1), 122-6
  • Kakarala, K, Shnayder, Y, Tsue, T., T, Girod, D., A. 2018. Mandibular reconstruction.. Oral oncology, 77, 111-117