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Sveta A. Karelsky, M.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Appointment: (585) 758-5700

URMFGA member of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group

groupAn Accountable Health Partner

assignmentAccepting New Patients

Faculty Appointments

Patient Care Setting



Dr. Karelsky is an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Dr. Karelsky is a native of Russia who has lived in the United States since childhood. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated with a BA in molecular and cell biology. Her seminal undergraduate research work on short interfering RNA was published in the journal Nature. She subsequently completed medical school at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and graduated from the Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery residency program at the University of Rochester.

Professional Background

Dr. Karelsky treats patients with a broad range of ear, nose and throat problems and specializes in treating people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who do not benefit from treatment with positive airway pressure devices (CPAP). Patients undergo a procedure known as sleep endoscopy to help determine the cause of their OSA, and a thorough and personalized “CPAP-alternative” treatment approach is planned together with the patient after this procedure. Treatment may include surgery, referral for a dental device to help keep the airway open, or other interventions. Dr. Karelsky works with a multidisciplinary group at the University of Rochester which includes sleep medicine doctors, dentists and others as well as community partners to achieve the best possible treatment for people with sleep apnea. She offers a wide range of surgical procedures to treat OSA and is the only surgeon in Rochester performing Inspire® upper airway stimulation implant surgery. She is one of the most experienced Inspire® surgeons in the country, having performed over 100 implant operations. Dr. Karelsky often lectures about Inspire and other OSA treatments and has been featured in news and other television segments about this topic. She performs clinical research on the sleep endoscopy procedure and has published articles on this topic. Patients may volunteer for research studies during their care.

Dr. Karelsky is an active member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, where she serves on committees and develops educational materials for ENT doctors around the country.

Dr. Karelsky practices primarily at Highland Hospital, where she is the Chief of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. She is also the director of quality improvement for the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at UR Medicine, and is involved in multiple quality and patient satisfaction initiatives in this role.




    Post-doctoral Training & Residency

    07/01/2006 - 07/01/2007
    Internship in Surgery (General Surgery) at University of Rochester Medical Center

    07/01/2006 - 06/24/2011
    Residency in Otolaryngology at University of Rochester Medical Center


    Annual Research Award
    Sponsor: University of Rochester


    Journal Articles

    Porterfield L.; Bacak B.; Karelsky, S. "Sleep Endoscopy Patterns in Six Adults with Trisomy 21 and Obstructive Sleep Apnea." Laryngoscope. 2021; .

    Wong SJ; Luitje ME; Karelsky S. "Patterns of Obstruction on DISE in Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Change With BMI". Laryngoscope. 2021; 131(1): 224-229.

    Lookabaugh S; McKenna M; Karelsky S; Davis M; Didas A; Allen P; Faria J. "Drug-induced sleep endoscopy findings in surgically-naïve obese vs non-obese children". Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2020; 138: 110289.