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Christopher M.K.L. Yao, MD, FRCSC

Clinical Locations

Primary Location

Fox Chase Cancer Center
333 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111


Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery

Treatment Focus

Head and Neck Cancers; Transoral Robotic Surgery; Microvascular Reconstruction; Salivary Cancers; Oral Cancers; Oropharyngeal Cancers; Larynx Cancers; Sinonasal Cancers; Skull base tumors; Thyroid Cancers; Skin Cancers; Melanoma

Language(s) Other than English


Treatment Philosophy

Head and neck cancers are uncommon and can drastically alter a person’s ability to eat, speak, and breathe. An experienced, dedicated multidisciplinary cancer team involving surgery, radiation, and medical oncology is paramount to treating patients while optimizing their quality of life. At Fox chase cancer center, we have the benefit of having a close-knit group of dedicated physicians working collaboratively to offer many innovative treatment strategies as well as clinical trials to optimize patient care.

I believe that each patient is unique, and that my extensive training at the University of Toronto and MD Anderson Cancer Center has provided me a deep understanding of treating patients with complex problems. In particular, I have gained the operative expertise to perform many techniques in the surgical management of head and neck cancers, including robotic surgery, skull base surgery, sentinel lymph-node techniques, and have a particular interest in the use of microvascular techniques to perform complex head and neck reconstruction. These skills and experiences allow us to offer personalized, effective state-of-the-art treatment plans that optimize both outcome and quality of life.

I have a particular interest in the management of oropharyngeal cancers, and the use of transoral robotic surgery to provide a minimally invasive approaches to these tumors. I also have a strong interest in optimizing the long-term functional outcomes of patients, and tailor reconstructive plans with this in mind. Most importantly, I believe in providing each and every patient my full commitment, time and attention to addressing their head and neck cancer needs. I take great pride in offering compassion and honesty in guiding patients and families through each stage of treatment.

Education and Training

Educational Background

  • Fellowship in Advanced Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Microvascular Reconstruction, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas - 2018-2020
  • Residency, Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada - 2013-2018
  • MD, Doctor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada - 2009-2013
  • BSc, Bachelor of Medical Science, Western Scholar, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada - 2006-2009


  • Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Specialist Certification, Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, Toronto, Canada 2018-Present
  • AHNS Transoral Robotic Surgery Certificate – 2019-Present


  • Member, American Head and Neck Society, 2018-Present
  • Member, Canadian Society of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Society, 2013-Present
  • Member, Ontario Medical Association (OMA)

Honors & Awards

  • December 2018 – 2019 Detweiller Travelling Fellowship ($7,500), Royal College of Canada awarded for fellows with high merit (25 out of 150 applicants)
  • June 2017 – Poliquin Medtronic Resident Research Competition Award, Canadian Society of Otolaryngology, 71st annual meeting, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Distinction)
    • Paper title: “Noise exposure while commuting in Toronto – a study of personal and public transportation in Toronto”
  • 2017 – Best Paper Work Undertaken by a PGY-3 resident, Percy Ireland Annual Academic Day, Department of otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto, Canada. Mirko Kolarski.
    • Paper title: “Learning curves of transphenoidal pituitary surgery using the neurotouch navigation system"
  • 2016 – Best Paper Work undertaken by a PGY-2 resident, Percy Ireland Annual Academic Day, Department of otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto, Canada. Weibo Hao.
    • Paper title: “Outcome of cochlear implantation in post-irradiated patients”
  • 2013 – Rhodes Scholarship Canadian Finalist
  • 2013 – Dr. Jay Keystone Leadership Award ($1,000), Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada – awarded to a medical student demonstrating exemplary leadership among peers
  • 2013 – Dr. Gordon Cressy Award (Distinction), Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada – awarded to students who have made outstanding extra-curricular contributions to their college, faculty, school, or university as a whole.
  • 2013 – Mary Cassidy Leadership Award ($300), Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada – awarded for outstanding extracurricular contributions
  • 2009 – Canadian Millennium Grant Project ($10,000), Kigali Health Institute, Kigali, Rwanda – development of online learning platform for Kigali Health Institute.
Research Profile

Research Interests

  • Clinical and translational questions including decision analyses, data science, health informatics and process/quality of care for head and neck cancers
  • Outcomes research involving techniques and outcomes of ablative and reconstructive head and neck surgery
  • Clinical trials in head and neck cancer

Selected Publications

Yao CMKL, Fu TS, Ziai H, Monteiro E, de Almeida JP, Zadeh G, Gentili F, and de Almeida JR. Cost-Effectiveness of Endoscopic Endonasal versus Transcranial Approaches for Olfactory Groove Meningioma. Head Neck 2020

Kiong KL, Vu C, Yao CMKL, Kruse B, Zheng G, Yu P, Weber RS, Lewis CM. Enhanced recovery after surgery in head and Neck Oncologic Surgery: a Case-Matched Analysis of Perioperative and Pain Outcomes. Ann Surg Onc 2020

Kiong KL, Fang-Yu Lin, Yao CMKL, Guo T, Ferrarotto R, Weber RS, Lewis CM. Impact of Neoadjuvant systemic therapy on perioperative morbidity after major Head and Neck Cancer Surgery. Cancer. 2020.

Guo T, Kiong KL, Yao CMKL, Zhao X, Jozaghi Y, Windon M, Zebda D, EY Hanna. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Otolaryngology trainee experience. Head Neck 2020.

Kiong KL, Guo T, Yao CMKL, Gross ND, Hanasono M, Ferrarotto R, Rosenthal DI, Myers JN, Hanna EY and SY Lai. Changing practice patterns in Head & Neck Oncologic Surgery in the early COVID-19 era. Head Neck 2020.

Vinh D, Zhao X, Kiong KL, Guo T, Jozaghi Y, Yao CMKL, Kelley JM and EY Hanna. An Overview of Covid-19 Testing and Implications for Otolaryngologists. Head Neck. 2020.

MD Anderson Head and Neck Surgery Treatment Guidelines Consortium. Head and neck surgical oncology in the time of a pandemic: Subsite-specific triage guidelines during COVID-19. Head Neck. 2020.

Noel CW, Mok F, Wu V, Yao CMKL, Eskander A, Hwang S, Reekie M, Smith S, Syreet I, Zirkle M, Lin V, Lee JM. Prevalence of uncorrected hearing loss and unmet otolaryngology needs among an adult homeless population. CMAJO. 2020 Mar 16. vol 8. E199-204. doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20190220

Lee DJ, Yao CMKL, Sykes J, Rizvi L, Tullis E, Lee JM. Full House versus Limited Sinus Surgery for Chronic Rhinosinusitis in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020. doi: 10.1177/0194599820904956.

Hamza A, Yao CMKL, Lai SY, and D Bell. Clear Cell Tumor of the Maxilla with MAML2 and EWSR1 Gene Rearrangements: A True Hybrid or a FISH Fumble? Accepted to AJSP: Reviews & Reports. Oct 2019

Tam S, Yao CMKL, Amit M, Gajera M, Luo X, Treistman R, Khanna A, Aashiq M, Nagarajan P, Bell D, El-Naggar A, Migden M, Wong MK, Glisson B, Ferrarotto R, Esmaeli B, Rosenthal D, Li G, Weber RS, Myers JN, Gross ND. Outcomes of immunosuppressed patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019 Dec 5. Doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2019.3751.

Yao CMKL, Chang EI, and Lai SY. Contemporary management of advanced oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. Curr Oncol Rep. 2019, 21:99.

de Almeida JR, Yao CMKL, Ziai H, Staibano P, Huang SH, Hosni A, Hope A, Bratman S, Monteiro E, Gilbert RW, Brown D, Gullane PJ, Irish JC, Su S, Xu W, Goldstein DP. Post-operative Wound Infections, Neutrophil to Lymphocyte Ratio, and Cancer Recurrence in Patients with Oral Cavity Cancer undergoing Surgical Resection. Oral Oncol. 2019; 97:23-30.

Hutcheson KA, Warneke C, Yao CMKL, Zaveri J, Elgohari BE, Goepfert R, Hessel AC, Kupferman ME, Lai SY, Fuller CD, Gunn GB, Garden AS, Johnson F, Ferarotto R, Lewin JS, and ND Gross. Dysphagia after primary transoral robotic surgery with neck dissection vs. nonsurgical therapy in patients with low- to intermediate- risk oropharyngeal cancer. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019 Sep 26. Doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2019.2725

Davies JC, Chan HHL, Yao C, Irish JC, Cusimano M, and JM Lee. Quantitative Analysis of Surgical Working Space during Endoscopic Transphenoidal Skull Base Surgery. J Neurol Surg B 2018 DOI: 10.101055/s-0038-1675591.

Blumberg JM, Walker P, Johnson S, Johnson B, Yu E, Lacasse MC, Lam D, Rittenberg B, Yao CMKL, Chepeha D, de Alemida JR, Goldstein DP, and RW Gilbert. Mandibular Reconstruction with the scapula tip free flap. Head Neck. 2019; 41(7):2353-8.

Noel CW, McMullen C, Yao CM, Monteiro E, Eskander A, Goldstein D, and JR de Almeida. The fragility index of statistically significant findings from randomized control trials in head and neck oncologic surgery. Laryngoscope. 2018 Apr 23: doi:10.1002/lary.27183

Yao CMKL, Ma AK, Cushing SL, and VY Lin. Noise exposure while Commuting in Toronto – a study of personal and public transportation in Toronto. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017, 46:62.

Tsang G, Zhang H, Yao CM, Kolarski M, Brown D, Chepeha DB, Irish JC, Gullane PJ, Gilbert RW, Goldstein DP, and JR de Almeida. Hardware complications in oromandibular defects: comparing scapular and fibular based free flap reconstructions. Oral Oncol. 2017, 71:163-8.

Yao CM, Ziai H, Tsang G, Copeland A, Brown D, Chepeha DB, Irish JC, Gilbert RW, Goldstein DP, Gullane PJ and JR de Almeida. Surgical site infections following oral cavity cancer resection and reconstruction is a risk factor for plate exposure. J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017; 46(1): 30.

Yao CM, Kahane A, Monteiro E, Gentili F, Zadeh G, and JR de Almeida. Preferences and utilities for health states after treatment of olfactory groove meningioma: endoscopic versus open. J Neurol Surg B Skull Base. 2017; 78(4):315-23.

Osborn HA, Kuthubutheen J, Yao CM, Chen JM, Vincent Lin. Predicting Microsurgical Aptitude. Otol Neurotol 2015; 36(7):1203-8.

Yao CM, Yip J, and Lee JM. State of the art: A systematic review of the surgical management of aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease. Am J Rhinol Allergy 2014; 28: 1-9.

Yao CM, Fernandes VT, Palmer J, Lee JM. Educational value of a pre-operative CT sinus anatomy checklist: a resident’s perspective. Journal of Surg Educ. 2013; 70(5): 585-7.

Erovic BM, Ravi A, Yeung R, Lee JW, Yao C, Enepekides DJ, Higgins KM. Volumetric changes of the anterolateral thigh free flap following adjuvant radiotherapy in total parotidectomy reconstruction. The Laryngoscope 2012; 122(4): 767-772.

Yao CM, Erovic BM, Higgins KM. Extramedullary plasmacytoma with thyroid infiltration and rapidly developing compressive features in a patient with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Thyroid 2012; 22(8): 861- 862.

Pollock R, Chandran V, Barret J, Eder L, Pellett F, Yao CM, Lino M, Shanmugarajah S, Farewell V, and DD Gladman. Differential major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related A allele associations with skin and joint manifestations of psoriatic disease. Tissue Antigens 2011; 77(6): 554-561.

Additional Publications




Our Patient Satisfaction Rating is an average of all responses to care provider related questions from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Learn more.


4.6 / 5.0


  • 4.5
  • 4.6
  • 4.7
  • 4.7
  • 4.6


  • 5.0
    June 01, 2021
    The nurse, [...] was amazing and very caring. Dr. Yao addressed every concern I had and explained everything to me in detail.
  • 5.0
    May 24, 2021
    The Doctor and the nurse were wonderful and very compassionate.
  • 5.0
    April 13, 2021
    Dr. Yao is an excellent 5 star surgeon & doctor. Always there to help with any of my questions or concerns. He is the best.
  • 5.0
    April 08, 2021
    All staff very friendly, upbeat - a big plus considering you don't want to be there at all!
  • 5.0
    March 08, 2021
    This was my 2nd visit to Fox Chase. I have complete confidence in Dr. Yao and his team. Very positive experience.
  • 5.0
    March 02, 2021
    Dr. Yao is the best.
  • 5.0
    March 01, 2021
    Dr. Yao is a wonderful new addition to the team. [...] his nurse is great too.
  • 5.0
    February 26, 2021
    The entire experience from first visit to the doctor, through the end of my hospital stay was excellent.
  • 5.0
    January 21, 2021
    Good experience.
  • 5.0
    January 07, 2021
    [...] all very good & professional.
  • 5.0
    January 07, 2021
    Top notch care & concern!

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