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William R. Ryan


Head and neck surgeon

Dr. William R. Ryan is an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon who cares for patients with cancerous and noncancerous tumors, as well as inflammatory disorders of the salivary glands. He has expertise in a range of surgeries to treat head and neck tumors, including robotic, endoscopic and other minimally invasive techniques, as well as traditional approaches. This expertise specifically includes transoral robotic surgery (a minimally invasive technique using high-definition 3D magnification for procedures in the mouth or throat), sialendoscopy (endoscopy for salivary gland disorders), sentinel lymph node biopsy (a procedure to check whether cancer has spread) and regional facial reconstruction. He also regularly performs ultrasounds in both the clinic and the operating room. He is committed to being accessible to his patients.

Ryan co-directs UCSF's program in robotic head and neck surgery, clinic for thyroid and parathyroid surgery, and center for salivary gland surgery. He conducts research on outcomes and other aspects of head and neck surgery, salivary duct surgery, and head and neck radiology. In addition, he teaches UCSF medical students, residents and fellows. He is director of the UCSF advanced head and neck oncologic surgery fellowship, and also runs a year-long clinical research fellowship for medical students.

Ryan earned his medical degree at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he also completed a residency in otolaryngology – head and neck surgery. He completed a fellowship in advanced head and neck cancer and endocrine surgery at UCSF. He joined the UCSF faculty in 2011.

Ryan has authored more than 100 articles in medical journals and several book chapters. He is regularly invited to lecture and serve on panels around the country, internationally and at UCSF on various aspects of head and neck surgery, salivary duct surgery, and head and neck ultrasound, and has given over 200 lectures and presentations. He co-directs two annual UCSF-sponsored conferences, one on innovations in otolaryngology – head and neck surgery and one on new techniques in salivary duct surgery.

In his free time, Ryan enjoys surfing, skiing, playing guitar, seeing live music, hiking, traveling and spending time with friends and family, especially his wife, daughter and son.

  • Education

    Stanford University School of Medicine, 2005

  • Fellowships

    UCSF, Advanced Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery, 2011

  • Board Certifications

    Otolaryngology, American Board of Otolaryngology

  • Academic Title


Where I see patients (4)

    My reviews


    Overall Experience
    518 Ratings
    About our process
    Dec 01, 2023
    Dr. Ryan described everything he was doing and why. He answered all my questions and showed concern for my overall health.
    Nov 29, 2023
    Nov 29, 2023
    Dr. Ryan is great. Knowledgeable no-nonsense and good at explaining. Also very personable.
    Nov 10, 2023
    Everything about my encounters with Dr. Ryan has been exceptional and I can highly recommend him to anyone who may need the benefit of his expertise.
    Nov 08, 2023
    Dr. Ryan is the best.
    Nov 08, 2023
    He will give after care procedures when we have a definitive diagnosis
    Nov 08, 2023
    Many friends want to come to your hospital for treatment but they don't know how to contact them and they want to give some guidance
    Oct 25, 2023
    Excellent impressive and kind staff at all levels.
    Oct 25, 2023
    Oct 18, 2023
    All UCSF provider are outstanding and very dedicated. Hats off to every single one of them. They even answer my calls during the weekend.
    Oct 12, 2023
    Dr. Ryan has been outstanding as a clinician and surgeon for my Mom's care. She always feels comfortable seeing him despite the challenges of her medical circumstance.
    Sep 29, 2023
    Dr Ryan was on the cold side. He wasn't very kind to his PA and spoke down to her. Kinda of dismissed her and me
    Sep 27, 2023
    My Doctor and all of the staff were great
    Sep 25, 2023
    Dr. Ryan and his staff are true professionals and it is a privilege to be one of his patients.
    Aug 23, 2023
    Dr Ryan is at great personal Doctor for us all. Should be very glad you employe him
    Aug 11, 2023
    Dr.Ryan is always so kind and caring. He has treated me for the 7 years and saved my life. I travel 3 hours to see him. He always make sure he scans my throat to make sure I'm doing well.
    Aug 04, 2023
    The facility I go to for UCSF is fantastic and I cannot say enough good things about the facility and the staff. I am always recommending UCSF to anyone with big issues.
    Aug 04, 2023
    Dr. Ryan is the bomb!
    Aug 02, 2023
    Very professional good communicator good care
    Jul 26, 2023
    Dr Ryan always seems to be in a rush during our appointments this has happened many times. He uses terms without explaining them and doesn't pause often enough for interpreter to relay the message. The most difficult thing is that he doesn't ask if we have questions and starts leaving before we have a chance to ask them. Sometimes he is half way out the door or in the hallway while we are still trying to ask him questions.
    Jul 05, 2023
    All of this took place on a telephone call a few days later not during the appointment.
    Jun 29, 2023
    Dr. Ryan is awesome
    Jun 28, 2023
    Best doctor!
    Jun 21, 2023
    Dr. Ryan is a great surgeon. Very professional.
    Jun 16, 2023
    He was very casual spent no more than 10 minutes explained nothing merely said this was not his area and we would get a call In a week or so to set an appt with a plastic surgeon. He barely looked at the melanoma site and never touched the patient.
    Jun 16, 2023
    I had to ask that Dr. Ryan explain to me in English what he had seen on the ultrasound after he had discussed it with the NP in doctorese.
    Jun 16, 2023
    Dr. William Ryan is exceptional
    Jun 14, 2023
    I would have liked my primary provider to have been a bit more communicative/descriptive & detailed in discussing biopsy/surgical procedure details with me I felt my primary provider was working through his patient load (example: playing through quicklylike in golf instead of taking the time to study and react)ANDI still had to wait an hour and forty minutes
    Jun 02, 2023
    Thanks Dr Ryan!
    May 24, 2023
    After waiting over an hour the provider was in the room less than 5 minutes.
    May 19, 2023
    Everyone there was awesome
    Apr 28, 2023
    One area I needed more information on was pain management while I wait over the next several weeks to have surgery. I have bad nerve pain in my face that I could use more information on to address.
    Apr 27, 2023
    Dr W Ryan is an outstanding doctor in every respect.
    Apr 05, 2023
    I was treated as elder respected family member
    Apr 05, 2023
    He was excellent and gave me great confidence in my pending surgery.
    Mar 29, 2023
    Quality care
    Mar 24, 2023
    I always get very good care
    Mar 22, 2023
    I know that I'm receiving services from the very best. Thank you!
    Mar 22, 2023
    The Doctor asked if the referring Doctor explained to me what my condition was. I said yes squamous cell carcinoma of the vocal cords. I might need radiation or radiation and surgery.Dr Ryan said he was going to refer me to someone else. I was referred to him not someone else.Then he said that he would not do it and it seemed as if he was above doing the procedure.
    Mar 17, 2023
    I love Dr. Ryan! He is AMAZING I just wish that I didn't have to wait almost 2 hours to be seen.
    Mar 16, 2023
    I don't give high marks easily.
    Mar 04, 2023
    Really happy with UCSF.
    Mar 04, 2023
    Very fortunate to be in the care of such a great surgeon! The best as far as I am concerned!!!
    Feb 20, 2023
    Dr. Ryan doesn't need much time to assess a wound or condition but I feel he was very thorough just the same. If the condition is doubtful he orders a subsequent test.
    Feb 16, 2023
    Great explanation of issues and very interested in my issues.
    Feb 15, 2023
    Verry good
    Feb 15, 2023
    Very satisfied with all phases!
    Feb 06, 2023
    Worlld class organization and Doctor was one of the best I have had the pleasure of interacting with.
    Feb 01, 2023
    Jan 28, 2023
    Not vary personable. His surgical skills are his saving grace. I'm told he's the best so I the rest doesn't matter to him. I wish that he would review my chart before meeting with me. I am not sure how concerned he is with concurrent medical issues.
    Jan 25, 2023
    My doctor was very cold and spent very little time with me. He seemed completely unconcerned that I am dying of cancer.
    Jan 19, 2023
    I didn't know that dr was done with me. I had to go out of the room and asked an attendant if the doctor was done with me. Even the doctor's asst didn't inform me that I can go home already.
    Jan 13, 2023
    Dr.Ryan exceeds his Impressive resume. He Is a scholar who retains his tremendous physician manner and concern.
    Jan 04, 2023
    Dr Ryan went about the exam with care to make sure I understood the next steps
    Dec 14, 2022
    Dr. Ryan is the best!
    Dec 14, 2022
    Well done excellent service delivery
    Nov 30, 2022
    Everyone on Dr.Ryan's team is awesome. Highly recommended.
    Nov 30, 2022
    I wish someone would have Procured results or cancelled Appt until results were in.We had to stay in a hotel.
    Nov 16, 2022
    Dr Ryan is awesome! He is respectful honest and caring.
    Nov 16, 2022
    Dr Ryan and his staff were top notch. They didn't discount any of my concerns and explained everything very well.
    Nov 16, 2022
    My care provider was friendly and patient as I hooked my son ( my advocate) up on my phone so he could hear the provider and even talk to the provider and visa versa. The provider did not seem to have "one foot out the door". He was thorough in his examination. He was positive in his conclusions.
    Nov 04, 2022
    I understand that doctors are busy but it doesn't mean that he could be so late and hurry up and leave kind of attitude to his new patient it happened to be me. He looked tired and irritable read my info on the computer and did ultrasound again then left ordering to have a Ct Scan.
    Nov 02, 2022
    Everything was just fine..
    Oct 19, 2022
    Amazing experience with Dr Ryan. He shows mastery in the subject and I feel very safe/confident in his hands. Entire staff is very communicative and friendly!
    Oct 12, 2022
    Seems the doctor was very busy
    Sep 28, 2022
    I have and will continue to always recommend UCSF! Great hospital
    Sep 21, 2022
    Our overall experience with the initial meeting with Dr Ryan was excellent. 10 out of 10!!!
    Sep 21, 2022
    This was a 6 month regular follow-up for the past 3 years. No specific issues on this visit. Waiting for copy of visit report and blood test results to be posted.
    Sep 18, 2022
    The healthcare provider was very professional also very detailed in giving possible treatments.
    Sep 17, 2022
    Doctor Ryan refused to stay longer because he said he had a meeting. I wanted ask questions and better understand the medicinal procedures I will undergo but doctor Ryan showed no professionalism
    Aug 17, 2022
    UCSF and the staff is great. Dr. Ryan is wonderful. The day of my surgery was not a shining moment due to changes and lack of communication.
    Aug 15, 2022
    Very helpful n explained
    Aug 04, 2022
    Can't sugarcoat you've got cancer your choices are none there are no options
    Aug 04, 2022
    Provider was efficient
    Jul 21, 2022
    Very friendly quick to the point
    Jul 20, 2022
    Very good over all
    Jul 20, 2022
    I had to wait an hour and half past my appointment time before I saw my doctor
    Jul 13, 2022
    Dr . Ryan is very thorough kind and caring. He goes of ultrasound In the office and explains everything . I travel 3 hours to see him he's a wonderful doctor .
    Jun 13, 2022
    A plus Doctor with A plus staff
    Jun 06, 2022
    Dr. Ryan is amazing!
    May 19, 2022
    All good
    Apr 26, 2022
    Dr said that a specialist would be contacting me for follow-up. But I've not yet heard from a specialist or anyone from UCSF.
    Apr 22, 2022
    I really appreciate Dr. Ryan that listen and tried to explain to me easy way when I don't understand. He's professional. Because of my English ability I thought and feel that it is hard to communicate some way. But I got information at UCSF Mchat (doctor's note). Also his's coordinators and assistance were very nice. I really glad to me Dr. Ryan.
    Apr 20, 2022
    Described concerns about swelling in neck. Said nothing to worry about without telling me what it was.
    Apr 16, 2022
    The physician explained the need for surgery the expected outcomes and the risk all of which I very much appreciate.
    Mar 22, 2022
    We knew what the diagnosis was but didn't know what treatment options were available and prognosis etc. He made sure we had all possible facts to be able to make the best choice
    Mar 16, 2022
    No matter how busy he is he always takes time never seems rushed.
    Mar 02, 2022
    Very good. Thank you
    Mar 02, 2022
    He recommended some possible clinics and tests I could take but I think they were all useless.
    Mar 02, 2022
    Dr. Ryan is a lifesaver and a precious asset at UCSF! Love talking about the surf with him
    Feb 16, 2022
    Dr Ryan was professional and personable. Clearly explained everything. Extremely knowledgeable.
    Feb 16, 2022
    Excellent visit with Dr. William Ryan and his staff