He Nose Best

Dr. Lee Mandel provides insight on the leaps and investments needed to make a mark in the medical space.

Building a specialized medical practice truly does involve a special type of person. Beaming with a patient-centered passion, audible spark and a drive to keep growing, Dr. Lee Mandel has built a South Florida-bred, small-but-mighty empire in the sinus and snoring treatment space. Mandel is a true New York-meets-Florida success story. He’s from Brooklyn and was raised in Hollywood, Fla. He completed his undergrad studies at the University of Florida, went to the University of South Florida for medical school, and completed his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Post NYC residency, Mandel joined a practice in Hollywood for a year and a half.

 “The very first practice that I was with, it was with an older physician who didn’t want to put any capital at all into his practice,” he says. “I had to make the decision at that point, ‘Am I going to stay in this practice or am I going to break off to this practice as a very young physician and without a guaranteed salary or anything, just basically doing it on my own?’ And I decided that if I was going to believe in something, it should be myself. Each time a major decision happens, you may take a hit… you may take a hit emotionally, in terms of stress and financially. But it always pays off when you just believe in yourself, and you believe in what you’re doing.”

Mandel made a major leap to start his own practice alongside a fellow practitioner—an initial practice that lasted for 11 years before he founded the South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center. Recently, the highly-specialized practice was rebranded to Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists to represent, in part, that it is attracting patients statewide and internationally.

Here in 2024, Mandel is 59 years old, has five kids and a successful operation with two locations (Fort Lauderdale and Plantation) and approximately 30 employees. He handles approximately 600 cases per year. Core to his success has been harnessing the latest innovations as well as keeping a patient-centered practice. In reflecting on what has inspired him through the years, he recalls the iconic, five-star Helmsley Palace hotel in New York City and its owner, Leona Helmsley, and her level of care in making the hotel a place to be.

 “When they did documentaries and interviews and whatnot with her, she would walk around her hotel and, if there was the slightest little bit of something on the floor, she would pick it up. If there was a little dust somewhere, she would pick it up. She would walk through the hotel as if she was a patron staying at the hotel. That always hit me. I’ve always strived to walk through my office with my practice administrator on a regular basis and just walk through and say, ‘OK, if I was a patient walking through my office right now, what would I think of this or that?’ I’ve always approached things as if we’re in a service industry and my job is to provide a service. And it’s a very important service nonetheless.”

Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists primarily focuses on rhinology, sinus and nasal disorders, allergies, snoring and sleep apnea. On the technology front,  Mandel has been ahead of the curve and/or harnessing the latest techniques. Some of his proudest moments include developing his own minimally-invasive technique to treat snoring and sleep apnea; being a pioneer in the in-office surgery space; and, during the pandemic, investing $20,000 on a special filtration system and doing his own PCR testing in-office for patients. He notes that he kept and paid his entire staff through the pandemic—amid closures and all—and ensured he was the last one paid during that difficult span.

Being forward-thinking, Mandel is always looking to grow his practice, both in scope and quality. On the notion of expanding and reflecting on his two-plus decades in practice, he says, “You should never be afraid to spend whatever capital is necessary to give a better product. And in this case, the better product is better health. It will always pay dividends in this space. From my perspective, if I’m providing better patient care, more people are going to come to me. And that has always rung true.”

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