Tae Chong, M.D.
Tae Chong, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery and Director of the Reconstructive Transplant Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center. His expertise includes cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, such as breast reconstruction and primary augmentation, body contouring, abdominal wall reconstruction, facial aesthetics and reconstruction, and scar management/revision.
Reconstructive hand transplants will be one of the major advances in plastic surgery. Plastic surgery has been involved in transplantation since the initial attempts at skin grafting burned soldiers in World War II. We now have the opportunity to continue to serve our community and our soldiers with this innovative procedure.”
Dr. Chong’s goal is to educate his patients on their diagnosis and to guide them through the different treatment options. As plastic surgery has become more sophisticated, new procedures and techniques have evolved that minimize the complications associated with the surgery. This applies to both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.
Dr. Chong says, “I have a long discussion with patients about their procedures and what they can expect, as well as the recovery process. It makes a significant difference when the patients make an informed decision and have realistic expectations.” This is especially true in reconstructive breast surgery, as women have so many options for restoration – each with different advantages and disadvantages.
In an effort to optimize his patients’ care, Dr. Chong conducts numerous investigational studies. One area of interest involves minimizing complications after breast reconstruction for cancer. He found that anticoagulation, which is used to decrease blood clots in cancer patients, could be given safely before surgery. There was no increase in complications in implants or free flap reconstruction for breast cancer in this study.
Another area of research involves gender-related differences in plastic surgery and why men are more at risk for post-surgical complications. With face lifts, for example, males have higher incidences of bleeding after the procedure.
Dr. Chong's research has also found that men are more likely to have complications after a body contouring procedure, particularly in patients who have had skin and tissue removed as a result of dramatic weight loss after gastric bypass surgery. By identifying that men have this higher incidence, risk factors can potentially be minimized in the preoperative stage and in the operating room, Dr. Chong says.
Additionally, his research involves using a combination of steroids, chemotherapy agents (at low doses), and surgery to treat keloids and hypertrophic, or raised, scars.
“It is difficult to predict the manner in which an injury or even cosmetic surgery will scar, but we are able to remove many of these scars and prevent them from recurring,” Dr. Chong says.
As Director of UT Southwestern’s Reconstructive Transplant Program, Dr. Chong is the principal investigator in a clinical trial involving hand transplants. This is a multidisciplinary trial sponsored by UT Southwestern with the goal of restoring patients who have suffered disabling injuries.