Henry Hsia, MD, is a plastic surgeon and the founding director of the Yale Medicine Regenerative Wound Healing Program. He focuses on the treatment of all wounds, regardless of etiology, patient age, or location on the body.
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 technique, 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?”
As an associate professor of surgery & biomedical engineering at Yale University, Dr. Hsia focuses his research on how wound care can be optimized not only through the better understanding of the social determinants underlying chronic wounds, but also through molecular and cellular research that may lead to novel approaches and interventions for challenging wounds. “I’m trying to correlate characteristics of patients’ skin and wounds with their clinical healing to find patterns that we can use to devise better wound care treatments,” he says.
Dr. Hsia 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.”
Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale Medicine, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital