Subhro K. Sen, MD, Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in biomedical engineering. He went on to receive his medical degree from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. After medical school, he completed a yearlong peripheral nerve research fellowship under Dr. Susan Mackinnon at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He completed his postgraduate training in general surgery at Indiana University, followed by plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins University. He finished his training with a hand and upper extremity surgery fellowship at Stanford University.

Dr. Sen’s general clinical interests are in reconstructive surgery, microvascular surgery, and hand and upper extremity surgery. His practice includes: post-traumatic extremity reconstruction; post-oncologic reconstruction of the head and neck, trunk and extremities; perforator flap surgery; and melanoma surgery. He is medical director of the Advanced Wound Care Center at Stanford Health Care. As a hand surgeon in the Robert A. Chase Hand and Upper Limb Center, he has interests in hand trauma, degenerative conditions, peripheral nerve injuries, and complex upper extremity flap reconstruction.

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Sen is involved in research, publication, and teaching. His peer-reviewed research includes studies on extremity reconstruction, peripheral nerve regeneration, and he has authored a number of book chapters on a variety of plastic and hand surgery topics. He has a strong interest in medical device innovation and is currently a faculty fellow in the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign.

Dr. Sen is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.

Clinical Focus

  • Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery
  • Microvascular Surgery
  • Head & Neck Reconstruction
  • Upper and Lower Extremity Reconstruction
  • Peripheral Nerve Surgery
  • Wound Healing
  • Plastic Surgery

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Medical Co-Director, Advanced Wound Care Center (2014 - Present)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Active Member, American Society of Plastic Surgeons (2011 - Present)
  • Active Member, American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (2011 - Present)
  • Active Member, American Society for Surgery of the Hand (2015 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Board Certification: American Board of Plastic Surgery, Plastic Surgery (2010)
  • Residency: Indiana University Medical Center (2006) IN
  • Fellowship: Stanford University Dept of Plastic Surgery (2009) CA
  • Residency: Johns Hopkins University Plastic Surgery Residency (2008) MD
  • Residency: Johns Hopkins University Surgery Program (2004) MD
  • Board Certification: American Board of Plastic Surgery, Surgery of the Hand (2014)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Surgery, General Surgery (2008)
  • Medical Education: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (2000) IL

Community and International Work

  • Consultant surgeon, ReSurge International



    Ongoing Project


    Opportunities for Student Involvement


Graduate and Fellowship Programs

  • Hand Surgery (Fellowship Program)

All Publications

  • Comparing Muscle and Fasciocutaneous Free Flaps in Lower Extremity Reconstruction-Does It Matter? Annals of plastic surgery Paro, J., Chiou, G., Sen, S. K. 2016; 76: S213-5


    Plastic surgeons are often asked to assist with the reconstruction of lower extremity wounds. These patients many times require free tissue transfer for coverage given paucity of soft tissue. Anecdotally, many orthopedic surgeons prefer muscle coverage-particularly in the setting of potentially infected bone. Today's surgeons now easily harvest and transfer fasciocutaneous flaps-a versatile option with less donor-site morbidity. We hypothesized that there would be no difference in outcomes between these 2 types of reconstruction.We performed a single-institution retrospective review of lower extremity free flap reconstructions in the last 10 years. Demographics, preoperative and postoperative course, and the documented time to weight-bearing and bony union were collected. Major cohorts compared were muscle free flaps and fasciocutaneous free flaps, further divided into subgroups including acute trauma, tumor resection, osteomyelitis, and nonunion. Data comparisons were made using paired t test and Fischer exact tests.There were 121 patients who met inclusion criteria-86 in the muscle flap group, and 35 in the fasciocutaneous group and demographics were equal. Total complication rates were higher in smokers than nonsmokers (P < 0.03). There was no significant difference in major or minor complication rates between muscle and fasciocutaneous flaps in any subgroup. In both the acute fracture group and the infected nonunion group, there was a significantly faster return to weight bearing in the fasciocutaneous group (P < 0.03) although there was no difference in documented time to bony union. Patients who underwent fasciocutaneous reconstruction were more likely to require revisionary surgery for improved aesthetics (P < 0.001).Our data suggest that in essentially all clinical parameters, there is no difference between free flap type used for soft tissue coverage of the lower extremity. Patients undergoing reconstruction with a fasciocutaneous flap may return to weight bearing earlier-although they are more likely to require elective flap revisions. These results imply essentially equivalent outcomes regardless of flap type or operative indication, in contrast with some of the biases in the orthopedic community. The particular flap chosen for any reconstruction should remain solely at the discretion of the plastic surgeon.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000779

    View details for PubMedID 27070670

  • Injuries to Appendage Extremities and Digit Tips: A Clinical and Cellular Update DEVELOPMENTAL DYNAMICS Rinkevich, Y., Maan, Z. N., Walmsley, G. G., Sen, S. K. 2015; 244 (5): 641-650


    The regrowth of amputated appendage extremities and the distal tips of digits represent models of tissue regeneration in multiple vertebrate taxa. In humans, digit tip injuries, including traumatic amputation and crush injuries, are among the most common type of injury to the human hand. Despite clinical reports demonstrating natural regeneration of appendages in lower vertebrates and human digits, current treatment options are suboptimal, and are complicated by the anatomical complexities and functions of the different tissues within the digits.In light of these challenges, we focus on recent advancements in understanding appendage regeneration from model organisms. We pay special attention to the cellular programs underlying appendage regeneration, where cumulative data from salamanders, fish, frogs, and mice indicate that regeneration occurs by the actions of lineage-restricted precursors. We focus on pathologic states and the interdependency that exists, in both humans and animal models, between the nail organ and the peripheral nerves for successful regeneration.The increased understanding of regeneration in animal models may open new opportunities for basic and translational research aimed at understanding the mechanisms that support limb regeneration, as well as amelioration of limb abnormalities and pathologies.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/dvdy.24265

    View details for Web of Science ID 000353953600002

    View details for PubMedID 25715837

  • Fascia-only anterolateral thigh flap for extremity reconstruction. Annals of plastic surgery Fox, P., Endress, R., Sen, S., Chang, J. 2014; 72: S9-S13


    The ability to use the anterolateral thigh (ALT) flap as a vascularized fascial flap, without skin or muscle, was first documented by Koshima et al in 1989. The authors mention the possibility of using the fascia alone for dural reconstruction. Despite its description more than 20 years ago, little literature exists on the application of the ALT flap as a vascularized fascial flap. In our experience, the ALT flap can be used as a fascia-only flap for thin, pliable coverage in extremity reconstruction.After approval from the institutional review board, the medical records and photographs of patients who had undergone fascia-only ALT free flaps for extremity reconstruction were reviewed. Photographic images of patients were then matched to patients who had undergone either a muscle-only or a fasciocutaneous free flap reconstruction of an extremity. Photographs of the final reconstruction were then given to medical and nonmedical personnel for analysis, focusing on aesthetics including color and contour.Review of cases performed over a 2-year period demonstrated similar ease of harvest for fascia-only ALT flaps compared to standard fasciocutaneous ALT flaps. Fascia-only flaps were used for thin, pliable coverage in the upper and lower extremities. There was no need for secondary procedures for debulking or aesthetic flap revision. In contrast to muscle flaps, which require muscle atrophy over time to achieve their final appearance, there was a similar flap contour from approximately 1 month postoperatively throughout the duration of follow-up. When a large flap is required, the fascia-only ALT has the advantage of a single-line donor-site scar. Photograph comparison to muscle flaps with skin grafts and fasciocutaneous flaps demonstrated improved color, contour, and overall aesthetic appearance of the fascia-only ALT over muscle and fasciocutaneous flaps.The fascia-only ALT flap provides reliable, thin, and pliable coverage with improved contour and color over muscle and fasciocutaneous flaps. The fascia-only ALT is another excellent option for reconstructive surgery of the extremities.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000146

    View details for PubMedID 24691305

  • Changing attitudes toward hand allotransplantation among North American hand surgeons. Annals of plastic surgery Bertrand, A. A., Sen, S., Otake, L. R., Lee, G. K. 2014; 72: S56-60


    Although more than 70 hand transplants have been performed worldwide, the appropriate clinical indications for this operation are still being determined. Cost and patient exposure to the challenges of lifelong immunosuppression for what is a quality of life-improving (but not life-saving) operation are the focus of the ongoing discussion. A study performed in 2007 showed that surgeons' opinions on the issue varied widely. Recently, more information has been made available regarding long-term patient outcomes, and significant improvements in immunotherapy protocols have been reported. In light of this, we sought to examine changing attitudes regarding hand allotransplantation and its indications by surveying hand surgeons.An email-based survey was sent to members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Demographic information and practice profiles were identified, followed by their risk assessment of hand allotransplants and endorsement of performing the operation in different clinical scenarios. Additional questions focused on the appropriate indications for hand allotransplantation, as well as the procedure's associated ethical and financial implications.A total of 385 surgeons responded to the survey (14% response rate). The majority (82%) considered hand transplantation to be a high-risk operation (as opposed to 27% in hand replantation), with 78% citing lifelong immunosuppression as the primary factor impacting their overall risk assessment. The most commonly accepted indication for hand vascularized composite allotransplantation was loss of bilateral hands (80% in favor). Dominant hand loss (with an intact contralateral hand) was a far less frequently accepted indication (36% in favor). Patient adherence to immunosuppressive regimens (51%) and expectations of functional/aesthetic outcome (38%) were the most frequently chosen top psychosocial issues that must be addressed by the surgical/medical teams involved in the operation.Our study's results demonstrate increasing overall support for hand allotransplantation and increasing acceptance of today's immunosuppressive regimens compared to prior literature. Bilateral hand loss remains the primary agreed-upon indication for transplantation. Despite increasing acceptance in the surgical community, the dangers of chronic immunosuppression, cost and patient adherence continue to be the primary concerns hindering its broader acceptance.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000147

    View details for PubMedID 24740026

  • Assessment of the immune response to dose of nerve allografts PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY Sen, S. Y., Lowe, J. B., Brenner, M. J., Hunter, D. A., Mackinnon, S. E. 2005; 115 (3): 823-830


    Nerve allotransplantation provides a limitless source of nerve graft material for the reconstruction of large neural defects. It does require systemic immunosuppression or induction of immune unresponsiveness to prevent allograft rejection. It is unknown whether a greater volume of nerve graft material will increase the risk of rejection or the need for more intensive immunosuppression. This study assessed the relationship between the quantity of nerve tissue transplanted and the magnitude of the resulting immune response. Forty female (BALB/c) mice were randomly assigned to two groups that received either nerve isografts (BALB/c) or nerve allografts (C57BL/6). Each group was then subdivided into two groups that received either one or 10 sciatic nerve graft inlays. Histological and immunological assessments were performed at 10 days after engraftment. Histologic analysis demonstrated greater cellular infiltration in the allograft than the isograft groups but no appreciable difference in infiltration related to quantity of transplanted nerve tissue. In vitro assessments of the immune response using mixed lymphocyte assays and limiting dilution analysis similarly demonstrated a robust immune response to allografts but no effect on quantity of transplanted nerve tissue. These data suggest that larger peripheral nerve allografts may not be subject to increased risk for rejection.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/01.PRS.0000153032.68405.DA

    View details for Web of Science ID 000227432100021

    View details for PubMedID 15731684

  • Effects of delaying FK506 administration on neuroregeneration in a rodent model JOURNAL OF RECONSTRUCTIVE MICROSURGERY Sobol, J. B., Lowe, J. B., Yang, R. K., Sen, S. K., Hunter, D. A., Mackinnon, S. E. 2003; 19 (2): 113-118


    FK506 is an immunosuppressant drug that has been shown experimentally to stimulate nerve growth and speed functional recovery, when administered immediately after peripheral nerve injury. However, the clinical scenario of a peripheral nerve injury is often associated with either a delayed diagnosis or reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of FK506 on neuroregeneration with delayed administration. Thirty-two Lewis rats underwent tibial nerve transection with immediate repair. Animals were left untreated, or were treated with daily injections of FK506 (2 mg/kg), started on the day of surgery, postoperative day 3, or postoperative day 5. Animals underwent walking track analysis to assess functional nerve recovery. Nerves were harvested for histomorphometric analysis on postoperative days 21, 28, and 42. Histomorphometry demonstrated that all treatment groups, regardless of the time of drug initiation, demonstrated evidence of enhanced neuroregeneration, compared to the untreated group. Histomorphometric data from groups harvested on day 21 demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in neuroregeneration in the immediate and 3-day delay groups. Therefore, the beneficial effects of FK506 on neuroregeneration are not restricted to immediate administration, but these effects significantly diminish when FK506 is administered 3 days after nerve injury.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000181327800011

    View details for PubMedID 12632311

  • Current approach to radial nerve paralysis PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY Lowe, J. B., Sen, S. Y., Mackinnon, S. E. 2002; 110 (4): 1099-1112


    After studying this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Identify all potential points of radial nerve compression and other likely causes of radial nerve injury. 2. Accurately diagnose both surgical and nonsurgical causes of radial nerve paralysis. 3. Define a safe and effective approach to the surgical release and reconstruction of the radial nerve. Radial nerve paralysis, which can result from a complex humerus fracture, direct nerve trauma, compressive neuropathies, neuritis, or (rarely) from malignant tumor formation, has been reported throughout the literature, with some controversy regarding its diagnosis and management. The appropriate management of any radial nerve palsy depends primarily on an accurate determination of its cause, severity, duration, and level of involvement. The radial nerve can be injured as proximally as the brachial plexus or as distally as the posterior interosseous or radial sensory nerve. This article reviews the etiology, prognosis, and various treatments available for radial nerve paralysis. It also provides a new classification system and treatment algorithm to assist in the management of patients with radial nerve palsies, and it offers a simple, five-step approach to radial nerve release in the forearm.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/01.PRS.0000020996.11823.3F

    View details for Web of Science ID 000177643200016

    View details for PubMedID 12198425

  • The effects of rapamycin in murine peripheral nerve isografts and allografts PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY Myckatyn, T. M., Ellis, R. A., Grand, A. G., Sen, S. K., Lowe, J. B., Hunter, D. A., Mackinnon, S. E. 2002; 109 (7): 2405-2417


    The FKBP-12-binding ligand FK506 has been successfully used to stimulate nerve regeneration and prevent the rejection of peripheral nerve allografts. The immunosuppressant rapamycin, another FKBP-12-binding ligand, stimulates axonal regeneration in vitro, but its influence on nerve regeneration in peripheral nerve isografts or allografts has not been studied. Sixty female inbred BALB/cJ mice were randomized into six tibial nerve transplant groups, including three isograft and three allograft (C57BL/6J) groups. Grafts were left untreated (groups I and II), treated with FK506 (groups III and IV), or treated with rapamycin (groups V and VI). Nerve regeneration was quantified in terms of histomorphometry and functional recovery, and immunosuppression was confirmed with mixed lymphocyte reactivity assays. Animals treated with FK506 and rapamycin were immunosuppressed and demonstrated significantly less immune cell proliferation relative to untreated recipient animals. Although every animal demonstrated some functional recovery during the study, animals receiving an untreated peripheral nerve allograft were slowest to recover. Isografts treated with FK506 but not rapamycin demonstrated significantly increased nerve regeneration. Nerve allografts in animals treated with FK506, and to a lesser extent rapamycin, however, both demonstrated significantly more nerve regeneration and increased nerve fiber widths relative to untreated controls. The authors suggest that rapamycin can facilitate regeneration through peripheral nerve allografts, but it is not a neuroregenerative agent in this in vivo model. Nerve regeneration in FK506-treated peripheral nerve isografts and allografts was superior to that found in rapamycin-treated animals. Rapamycin may have a role in the treatment of peripheral nerve allografts when used in combination with other medications, or in the setting of renal failure that often precludes the use of calcineurin inhibitors such as FK506.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000175761500035

    View details for PubMedID 12045568