Henry Hsia, MD, is a plastic surgeon and the founding director of the Yale Medicine Regenerative Wound Healing Program. He provides general plastic surgery, including implant-based breast reconstruction after cancer surgery.
He has a particular interest in wounds that don’t heal easily. “Wound care is unique in that it involves living tissue, and there is no suturing, medication or ointment that is guaranteed to heal it,” Dr. Hsia says. “So, I try to think about the circumstances that might be promoting or hindering its healing. When a patient says that a wound has been there for three months and won’t heal, I ask questions that might give me clues—are they eating well, are they a smoker, are they a diabetic and, if so, is the diabetes well controlled?”
An associate professor of surgery (plastic surgery) at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Hsai focuses his research on how normal skin bacteria might play a role in wound healing. “I’m trying to correlate the bacteria found in patients’ skin and wounds with with their clinical healing to find patterns that we can use to devise better wound care treatments.”
Dr. Hsai chose plastic surgery as his specialty because he found it to be especially creative. No two patients are alike and no two problems are identical, he says. “The wounds can be anywhere on the body from the scalp down to the toes,” he adds. “But, whatever the problem, you can reduce my job down to a single phrase: quality of life. We want to help the patient move on, whether it was from a car accident or a cancer operation, and I find that very appealing.”