William Z. Gao, MD| Laryngology, Otolaryngology | MedStar Health

William Z. Gao, MD
Provider is directly employed by MedStar Health

4.9 out of 5 (162 reviews)

Specialities: Laryngology, Otolaryngology

Languages: English

MGUH: 877-826-5501, MWHC: 202-877-8439

About me

William Gao, MD, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained laryngologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Georgetown University Hospital. He specializes in diagnosing and treating problems that affect the three primary functions of the throat: voice, breathing (airway), and swallowing.

Dr. Gao employs unique in-office diagnostic techniques such as laryngeal videostroboscopy and bronchoscopy to ensure comprehensive evaluation of the voicebox and airway. Treatment is tailored to each person and may entail medical, procedural, or surgical approaches. Many procedures he performs can be done in the clinic using local anesthesia, avoiding the need for surgery under general anesthesia. Some of these awake in-office treatments include vocal fold injections, laser treatment of laryngeal lesions, biopsy of suspicious growths, and EMG-guided laryngeal Botox injections.

Dr. Gao’s expertise extends to surgery for voice restoration, laser surgery for removal of tumors of the voicebox, and reconstructive endoscopic/open airway surgery. He also works with a multidisciplinary team including voice therapists/speech language pathologists to provide the highest level of holistic care to patients with voice, airway, and swallowing problems.

Dr. Gao received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College after completing a six-year accelerated premedical/medical program in conjunction with Penn State University. He then joined Georgetown University for a five-year residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. Subsequently, he completed a one-year subspecialty fellowship in laryngology and care of the professional voice at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He is an actively involved member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) and the American Laryngological Association (ALA).

Clinical areas of focus

  • Laryngeal Dystonia
  • Laryngeal Papillomatosis
  • Laryngeal Polyps
  • Videostroboscopy
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction
  • Vocal Cord Issues
  • Vocal Cord Lesions
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis
  • Vocal Cord Strain
  • Vocal Cord Surgery
  • Voice Problems
  • Voice Prosthesis
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Conditions and procedures

Conditions I treat

  • Abnormalities Of The Vocal Cords
  • Airway Disorders
  • Arytenoid Dislocation
  • Cough
  • Cricopharyngeal Achalasia
  • Difficulty Speaking
  • Dysphagia
  • Dysphagia, Oropharyngeal Phase
  • Dysphonia
  • Esophageal Obstruction
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  • Glottic Cancer
  • Glottic Stenosis
  • Hoarseness
  • Laryngeal Cancer
  • Laryngeal Dysplasia
  • Laryngeal Dystonia
  • Laryngeal Edema
  • Laryngeal Lesions
  • Laryngeal Leukoplakia
  • Laryngeal Papillomatosis
  • Laryngeal Polyps
  • Laryngeal Stenosis
  • Laryngitis
  • Laryngocele
  • Lump In Throat
  • Neurologic Disorders Of The Larynx
  • Reinke Edema
  • Resonance Disorders
  • Scratchy Voice
  • Sore Throat
  • Subglottic Stenosis
  • Supraglottic Cancer
  • Swallowing Problem
  • Swollen Throat
  • Throat Mass
  • Throat Tightness
  • Tracheal Stenosis
  • Tracheal Stomal Stenosis
  • Tracheocutaneous Fistula
  • Uprastomal And Tracheal Granulomas
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency
  • Vocal Cord Cancer
  • Vocal Cord Dysfunction
  • Vocal Cord Issues
  • Vocal Cord Lesions
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis
  • Vocal Cord Strain
  • Vocal Tremor
  • Voice Disorders
  • Voice Problems
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Procedures I perform

  • Airway Dilation
  • Botox Toxin For Spasmodic Dysphonia
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Esophageal Dilation
  • In Office Vocal Cord Injection
  • Injection Medialization Laryngoplasty
  • Laryngeal Botox
  • Laryngectomy
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Laryngotracheoplasty
  • Microlaryngeal Laser Surgery
  • Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy
  • Tracheal Dilatation
  • Transnasal Esophagoscopy
  • Videostroboscopy
  • Vocal Cord Surgery
  • Voice Prosthesis
  • Voice Screening
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Practice locations

Distance from Change LocationEnter your Location

3800 Reservoir Road Northwest
Floor 1
Washington, DC, 20007


Fax 877-826-5501

Get Directions

miles away

Fax 877-826-5501

106 Irving Street Northwest
POB 2700 North
Washington, DC, 20010


Fax 202-877-8439

Get Directions

miles away

Fax 202-877-8439


MedStar Medical Group accepts most major health insurance plans. If you are uncertain as to whether your individual health insurance plan is accepted at MedStar Medical Group, please call your insurance company.

  • List of insurance plans we accept
    • Aetna Elect Choice/ EPO (Aetna Health Fund) Innovation Health: Network Only Plus
    • Aetna Quality Point of Service (POS)
    • Aetna USAccess (POS)
    • Aetna Student Health Insurance
    • Aetna Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO Plans
    • CFBCBS BlueChoice HMO
    • CFBCBS Blue Choice Opt Out Plus Open Access (POS)
    • CFBCBS Maryland Point of Service Plan (MPOS)
    • CFBCBS Federal Employee Program (Std. & Basic PPO)
    • CFBCBS Maryland Indemnity or PPO
    • CFBCBS (NCA) Indemnity
    • CIGNA HMO & Network (HMO)
    • CIGNA POS/Network POS
    • Great-West Healthcare POS/CIGNA
    • CIGNA Indemnity
    • Coventry Health Care of Virginia
    • Coventry of Delaware HMO/PPO
    • First Health PPO
    • Tricare Prime
    • Tricare Standard
    • Tricare Extra (Indemnity)
    • Tricare for Life (Medicare Supplemental Plan)
    • MedStar Family Choice - Maryland Health Choice
    • MedStar Select (MedStar Associates' Plan)
    • MedStar Medicare Choice
    • United Healthcare Select HMO - EPO/NPP
    • United Healthcare Select Plus (POS)
    • United Healthcare Choice Plus
    • United Student Resources
    • M.D. IPA (HMO)
    • M.D. IPA Preferred (POS)
    • Optimum Choice Preferred (POS) & OCI Direct (HMO)
    • Mamsi Life & Health (Indem./PPO)
    • Aetna Worker's Compensation Network
    • Coventry Health Care National Network PPO
    • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS) (PPO)
    • United Healthcare Options (PPO) (includes Empire PPO, GEHA, Compass Rose)
    • OneNet PPO, Inc.
    • United Healthcare Choice
    • United Healthcare Core Essential (HMO)
    • Optimum Choice
    • United Healthcare Navigate
    • United Healthcare Compass (HMO)
    • CIGNA HMO Open Access (OA)
    • Network OA
    • POS OA & OA Plus
    • PPO and PPO Plus
    • Choice Fund PPO
    • CFBSBC Blue Preferred PPO
    • HealthyBlue PPO
    • CFBCBS Blue Choice Opt Out Open Access
    • BlueChoice Open Access
    • Blue Choice Advantage & Healthy Blue (HMO, POS)
    • Aetna Traditional Choice (PPO)
    • Innovation Health: Indemnity
    • Aetna Open Choice (PPO)
    • Innovation Health: PPO
    • Aetna Managed Choice (POS)
    • Innovation Health: POS Plus
    • Aetna Elect Choice/ Open Access (POS)
    • Innovation Health: Open Network Only Plus
    • Aetna HMO-Open Access/Select OA/HealthFund/Health Network Option OA
    • Innovation Health: POS
    • Open HMO
    • Opoen HMO Option
    • Open EPO Plus
    • Aetna Managed Choice Open Access (POS)
    • Choice POS & Choice POS II
    • Innovation Health: Open POS Plus
    • Open POS II
    • Aetna HMO
    • Select HMO/HealthFund/Health Network
    • Aetna Innovations: HMO & EPO Plus


Board Certification: American Board of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Plastic Surgery Within the Head and Neck

Fellowship Program: University of Southern California Medical Center (2019)

Residency Program: MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (2018)

Medical School: Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia (2013)

News and publications

  • Walsh A, Peesay T, Newark A, Shearer S, Parsa K, Pierce M, Gao WZ. Association of severe tongue edema with prone positioning in patients intubated for COVID-19. Laryngoscope. 2021 Jul 20. doi: 10.1002/lary.29773. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34287907.

  • Tripuraneni P, Wu EL, Gao WZ, Davidson BJ, Giurintano JP. Needle in the Haystack: Wire Bristle Foreign Body Presenting Deep Within the Tongue Base. Ear Nose Throat J. 2021 May 16:1455613211014079. doi: 10.1177/01455613211014079. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33993775.

  • Boles RW, Gao WZ, Johns MM, Daniero JJ, Grant NN, Rubin AD, Bhatt NK, Hapner ER, O'Dell K. Flexible Versus Rigid Laryngoscopy: A Prospective, Blinded Comparison of Image Quality. J Voice. 2021 Mar 25:S0892-1997(21)00072-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.02.010. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33775470.

  • Bhatt NK, Gao WZ, Timmons Sund L, Castro ME, O'Dell K, Johns MM 3rd. Platelet-Rich Plasma for Vocal Fold Scar: A Preliminary Report of Concept. J Voice. 2021 Jan 12:S0892-1997(21)00012-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2020.12.040. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33446439.

  • Boles RW, Gao WZ, Johns MM, Daniero JJ, Grant NN, Rubin AD, Bhatt NK, Hapner ER, O'Dell K. Flexible Versus Rigid Laryngoscopy: A Prospective, Blinded Comparison of Image Quality. J Voice. 2021 Mar 25:S0892-1997(21)00072-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.02.010. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33775470.

  • Shearer SC, Parsa KM, Newark A, Peesay T, Walsh AR, Fernandez S, Gao WZ, Pierce ML. Facial Pressure Injuries from Prone Positioning in the COVID-19 Era. Laryngoscope. 2021 Jan 2. doi: 10.1002/lary.29374. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33389768.

  • Gao WZ, Abu-Ghanem S, Reder LS, Amin M, Johns MM. A Novel Approach to Vocal Fold Mucous Retention Cysts: Awake KTP Laser-Assisted Marsupialization. J Voice. 2020 Aug 22:S0892-1997(20)30277-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2020.07.028. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32843259.

  • Bhatt NK, Gao WZ, Reder LS, O'Dell K. Novel Use of Ultrasonic Aspirator Device for Cricoid Chondroma Resection. Laryngoscope. 2020 Oct 27. doi: 10.1002/lary.29171. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33107630.

  • Kim C, Badash I, Gao WZ, O'Dell K, Johns MM 3rd. Idiopathic Ulcerative Laryngitis: A National Survey of Academic Laryngologists. J Voice. 2020 Apr 25:S0892-1997(20)30132-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2020.04.009. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32345504.

  • Clark BS, Gao WZ, Bertelsen C, Choi JS, Shoffel-Havakuk H, Reder LS, Hapner ER, Johns MM 3rd, O'Dell K. Flexible versus rigid laryngoscopy: A randomized crossover study comparing patient experience. Laryngoscope. 2020 Nov;130(11):2663-2666. doi: 10.1002/lary.28491. Epub 2020 Jan 6. PMID: 31904874.

  • Tang L, Kim J, Gao WZ. Nasal Polyps, Multifocal Laryngeal Masses, and Subglottic Stenosis in a Middle-aged Man. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020 Mar 1;146(3):302-303. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2019.3904. PMID: 31876942.

  • Parsa KM, Gao W, Lally J, Davison SP, Reilly MJ. Evaluation of Personality Perception in Men Before and After Facial Cosmetic Surgery. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2019 Sep 1;21(5):369-374. doi: 10.1001/jamafacial.2019.0463. PMID: 31294743; PMCID: PMC6624815.

  • Dermody SM, Gao W, McGinn JD, Malekzadeh S. Case-Logging Practices in Otolaryngology Residency Training: National Survey of Residents and Program Directors. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 Jun;156(6):1072-1077. doi: 10.1177/0194599817702622. Epub 2017 Apr 18. PMID: 28417670.

  • Elkassabany N, Garcia F, Tschabrunn C, Raiten J, Gao W, Chaichana K, Dixit S, Speck RM, Zado E, Marchlinski F, Mandel J. Anesthetic management of patients undergoing pulmonary vein isolation for treatment of atrial fibrillation using high-frequency jet ventilation. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2012 Jun;26(3):433-8. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2011.11.011. Epub 2012 Jan 20. PMID: 22265337.

  • Raiten J, Elkassabany N, Gao W, Mandel JE. Medical intelligence article: novel uses of high frequency ventilation outside the operating room. Anesth Analg. 2011 May;112(5):1110-3. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e318212b851. Epub 2011 Mar 3. PMID: 21372275.

Ratings and reviews

  • Provider explained things understandably

  • Provider listened carefully

  • Provider gave easy to understand instructions

  • Provider knew medical history

  • Provider showed respect

  • Provider spent enough time with patient

  • Mar 9, 2022

    Received a printout of the visit and a clear explanation of care.

  • Mar 9, 2022

    Dr. Gao DID LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY TO ME. I have a problem speaking and all of your staff listened to me very carefully. Dr. Gao REALLY HEARD ME AND WAS VERY INTERESTED IN EVERY DETAIL.

  • Mar 3, 2022