Restoring function, transforming confidence.

Renew Your Identity

For patients recovering from a serious condition or trauma, our team works with you over time to repair damaged tissue, restore function and enhance your appearance.

True Specialists

Our internationally-recognized surgical team performs unique treatments and procedures for patients from across the U.S. that are not offered anywhere else.

Integrating Complex Services

We collaborate closely across disciplines — from general surgery to urology, rehabilitation medicine and mental health care — to improve your quality of life.

Some of our common services:

After pregnancy or weight loss, patients often find that they have stretched skin and extra folds. Body contouring surgery can be done to remove the unwanted skin folds, and smooth those problem areas. This can be especially helpful in patients after weight-loss surgery and is commonly done for extra tissue on the belly, breasts, arms, thighs and below the chin.

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Cosmetic plastic surgery is done to change and enhance your appearance. It may include redesigning the body's contour and shape, smoothing wrinkles or eliminating balding areas. UW Medicine offers a number of procedures that men and women can choose to create a body image that makes them feel more confident and comfortable with their appearance including facelifts, rhinoplasty, liposuction, varicose vein treatment, breast augmentation and eyelid surgery.

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Caused by a weak spot in the belly wall or a weakening of abdominal muscle tissue over time, a hernia happens when part of your intestine pushes through a weak spot in your lower belly wall. Traditionally these are repaired with stitches and mesh reinforcement. In some cases, a hernia may come back after surgery and further intervention may be required. 

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In cases where traditional repair methods will likely fail due to scar tissue or abdominal wall weakness, a more involved approach may be needed. In these more complex cases, plastic surgery may be needed to restructure the abdominal wall to provide more strength and prevent further breakdown.

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Breast implants are not intended to last a lifetime. Ruptured implants and leakage of the silicone filling can lead to hardening scar tissue around the implant, which may prompt your doctor to recommend breast implant removal. In some cases immediate replacement is a possibility. Our team works with you to discuss your options and make the right choice for your health and well-being. 

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Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a rare spectrum of disorders ranging from benign fluid collection around the breast implant to a rare lymphoma. BIA-ALCL is not a cancer of the breast tissue itself. When caught early, it is readily curable. If the disease is advanced, chemotherapy or radiation may be required. Based on current data, increased risk can be explained by increased texture grade of the implants. The current lifetime risk for smooth implants is zero. UW Medicine does not use high-risk textured implants in our patients.

Women with breast implants should screen for breast cancer with self-exam, physician exam, and mammography/ultrasound/MRI as recommended by their physician. All women should see their plastic surgeon immediately if they note a change to the size, feel or shape of their breasts—especially if there is swelling or a lump.

Craniofacial surgery treats conditions that affect the bones and soft tissues of the head and face, including congenital differences and conditions resulting from tumor, infection or injury. This complex area of your body affects how you see, hear, breathe, chew, swallow and interact with other people. Our world-renowned team of craniofacial surgeons provides the highest level of craniofacial surgical care in the western United States, with referrals from around the globe. 

We treat patients up to the age of 21 at Seattle Children’s Hospital Craniofacial Center and offer craniofacial care to adults at the Burn and Plastic Surgery Clinic at Harborview Medical Center.
 

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Lymphedema is swelling caused by a buildup of lymph fluid that can’t drain away. Lymphedema can happen months or even years after cancer treatment. It’s an ongoing condition that has no cure. But there are ways to reduce or relieve symptoms if it happens. If left untreated, lymphedema can get worse and lead to other problems such as infections.

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Breast restoration, also known as breast reconstruction, is the process of rebuilding breasts of suitable shape and size after one or both breasts have been removed. The primary goal is balancing the two sides, and this may involve reducing, enlarging or lifting one or both breasts. It also includes reconstruction of the nipple and areola if needed. There are many options for breast restoration, and our team works closely with you to discuss your options and make the right choice for you. 

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Most breasts are reconstructed using synthetic implants, which is the simplest method, but UWMC is a specialized center widely known for breast restoration using natural tissues. The surgery and recovery are more involved, but the results feel and look more natural, last a lifetime, and do not require replacement the way implants do. In most cases, patients also benefit from the tummy tightening involved with that surgery. 

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Also known as reduction mammaplasty, this procedure removes excess breast fat, glandular tissue and skin to achieve a breast size more in proportion with your body and alleviates the discomfort associated with excessively large breasts. We also help men achieve reduced breast size through a procedure called gynecomastia surgery.

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This life-changing surgery restores faces that are severely injured or deformed. Our face transplant surgeons perform a complex and time-consuming procedure, transferring facial structures as a unit—including skin, blood vessels, nerves, bone and muscle—from the donor to the person receiving the transplant.

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Inform yourself to make the best choices for your health and care with UW Medicine patient education resources.

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Burn reconstructive surgery improves both the function and the cosmetic appearance of burn scars. This involves altering scar tissue with both non-operative and operative treatment. Treatments for scar tissue often take several months to be effective, and new scars may appear long after the injuries, especially in young patients who are still growing.

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Re-animation restores function to the face after trauma or a condition such as Bell’s palsy results in nerve damage and/or partial paralysis. We are one of the very few centers in the United States with expertise in facial re-animation and other procedures for treating facial paralysis. Our team works with you to access your symptoms and create a treatment plan to restore expression and increase the ease of daily activities such as eating and talking.

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Emotional support is an important part of your treatment. Support groups and community resources can help you and your loved ones through treatment and recovery.

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Our plastic surgery team specializes in repairing wounds that result from cancer removal. This includes reconstruction of the head and neck, breast, trunk and extremities. We are a center of excellence for breast reconstruction and care for cancer patients after mastectomy to restore lost form. Our surgeons routinely perform the deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap for breast reconstruction, which uses a patient's own tissue while preserving abdominal muscle.

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Hand surgery covers many different types of procedures. Our board-certified hand surgeons perform thousands of hand surgeries each year to restore hand, wrist and finger function while keeping the hand’s appearance as normal as possible. Hand surgery may be done for many reasons including injury, arthritis, birth defects and infections. Our nationally recognized hand surgery program is powered by collaboration between our orthopedic and plastic surgery hand specialists working together in a unique partnership to provide the highest quality of care.

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Regenerative medicine creates living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to age, disease, damage or congenital defects. Regenerative medicine empowers our scientists to grow tissues and organs in the laboratory and safely implant them when the body cannot heal itself.

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Cleft lip and cleft palate are problems of the mouth and lip. They affect about 1 in every 1,000 births. Cleft lip and cleft palate develop early in pregnancy when the sides of the lip and the roof of the mouth do not fuse together as they should. Cleft lip and cleft palate are caused by several genes inherited from both parents. They are also caused by environmental issues that scientists don’t yet fully understand.

We treat patients up to the age of 21 at Seattle Children’s Hospital Craniofacial Center and offer craniofacial care to adults at the Burn and Plastic Surgery Clinic at Harborview Medical Center.

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A hand transplant may be appropriate for a person who has either suffered a hand amputation or has lost almost all function in a hand and is not a candidate for conventional reconstructive surgery. Our transplant center is one of an elite group of transplant centers nationwide certified to perform hand transplants.

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From acute to chronic conditions, patients have relied on our caregivers to provide the latest and most creative surgical solutions. For patients with facial deformities, extremity injuries and complex wounds, UW Medicine is the region’s leader in trauma reconstructive plastic surgery.

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Condition Spotlight

Breast cancer: lymphedema after treatment

Overview

During surgery for breast cancer, nearby lymph nodes are often removed. This can lead to a swelling condition called lymphedema. It is a chronic (ongoing) problem that can arise right after cancer treatment or months or years later. Although there is no cure, getting immediate treatment can lower infection risk.

Symptoms

The most common symptom is arm swelling on the side where lymph nodes have been removed. Other symptoms may include tightness in the arm, chest or armpit; arm pain; trouble moving joints in the fingers, wrist, elbow or shoulder; hand swelling; skin thickening; and arm weakness.

Risk factors

When many lymph nodes under the arm are removed, a woman is at higher risk of lymphedema for the rest of her life. Radiation treatments to the underarm lymph nodes can further increase the risk of lymphedema.

Diagnosis

There is no specific test for lymphedema. However, imaging, blood tests and other diagnostic tools may be used to identify  lymphedema. Your doctor will ask about past surgeries and post-surgical problems; when swelling started; medicines you’re taking; past edema swelling; and if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes.

Treatment

Treatment focuses on ways to help prevent and manage the condition, and may include: exercise to improve lymph drainage; compression bandages to move fluid and help prevent infection; and massage therapy by someone trained in lymphedema treatment to help move fluid out of the swollen area.

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