Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Dr. Jeffrey B. Matthews

David W. Chang, MD
Professor of Surgery
Chief, Section of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Director, Microsurgery Fellowship
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Dr. Gottleib smiling in an interior hallway

Lawrence J. Gottlieb, MD

Dr. Lawrence Gottlieb: 30+ Years of Dedication to the Burn and Complex Wound Center

The University of Chicago Medicine is home to the world-class Burn and Complex Wound Center—a specialized care program on the South Side of Chicago where patients with severe burn injuries and/or complex wounds are treated by an extraordinary multidisciplinary team.

Burn Center Director Lawrence J. Gottlieb, MD, decided during his residency that he would venture into one of the less “glamorous” realms of plastic and reconstructive surgery: treating burn patients. While a fourth-year medical student, he joined the American Burn Association and continued on to hone his skills. After completing a residency in general surgery and another in plastic and reconstructive surgery, he landed at the University of Chicago, where he became an esteemed leader in his field.

The epitome of a multidisciplinary team

For over three decades, Dr. Gottlieb has been dedicated to the Burn Center. His extensive training and experience allow him to tackle the intricacies of burn and wound treatment with precision and care. His expertise and commitment have not only saved hundreds of lives, but garnered unswerving respect from many of his colleagues in UChicago Medicine and beyond.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” said Dr. Gottlieb. “One of the best things about the Burn Center is that it is the epitome of a multidisciplinary team.” A dynamic cross-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses and staff from Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Anesthesia and Critical Care—as well as occupational and physical therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, social workers and case managers—have come together every week for 36 years to create specialized plans of care for every patient.

“Within the burn world, it’s always been multidisciplinary,” observed Dr. Gottlieb. “Even within the American Burn Association, there isn’t a distinction between nurses, therapists and doctors; everyone is just a member. Each is given respect and treated as an expert in their field.”

“One of the best things about the Burn Center is that it is the epitome of a multidisciplinary team.”

Lawrence J. Gottlieb, MD
Professor of Surgery; Director, Burn and Complex Wound Center

Collaborative community engagement

The Burn Center team has long provided exceptional care to patients with burn injuries—the only adult trauma patients routinely cared for at UChicago Medicine until the institution officially launched its adult trauma program in May of 2018.

The Burn Center’s exclusivity has allowed for a rich execution of collaborative community engagement with smaller hospitals, composed of lectures and emergency department development. “It’s been nice,” said Dr. Gottlieb. “People come and go over the years, but the great thing is that we have our own little buffered community. We’ve been lucky to have a very stable group during the past 10 years. This has been an overall great experience from a personal, professional, educational and communal standpoint.”

Anatomy of a burn wound

Burn patients suffer in a variety of ways as the body fights to heal itself. Even while lying in bed, patients with large burn injuries need a massive amount of calories to prevent muscle loss and help the healing process. They may require 3,000 to 5,000 calories per day, which is a typical caloric input for competitive athletes who cover lengthy distances. Without even working a muscle or moving a single limb, patients can become nutritionally depleted.

Once the epidermis is destroyed, a large quantity of fluid seeps from the patient’s burns, causing electrolyte imbalance as well as fluid loss. Because of this, patients with large burn injuries require intravenous fluid resuscitation.

Typically burn wounds are relatively clean when incurred, but as time progresses they become colonized with bacteria, so the surgeons’ goal is to remove all nonviable skin to minimize infections. Generally they do so within the first seven to ten days and then either facilitate healing in partial-thickness or full-thickness wounds by replacing the skin with grafts from unburned parts of the body. In more extensive burns, covering 80 to 90% of the body, temporary skin is used until the patient’s own skin is available to be used to provide donor sites for grafts.

Challenges in treating children

While many of Dr. Gottlieb’s cases involve adults who have suffered burns from industrial accidents, house fires or intentional assault cases, over half of the patients he encounters are children. Some juvenile burn-wound cases are the result of accidents; however, most are due to carelessness, neglect or abuse. “One huge challenge is treating small children with large burns,” he said. “We get them to survive, but when they grow up, their skin is tight and we need to perform reconstructive surgery.”

For ongoing treatment to be effective, a strong support system is essential. Composed not just of family, it must include a skilled multidisciplinary rehabilitation team of healthcare professionals with unwavering dedication. “We’ve learned how to keep most people alive,” said Dr. Gottlieb. “Our focus is continuing to improve their quality of life, not just by way of reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, but socially. As plastic surgeons, improving a patient’s quality of life comes quite naturally to us and sets us apart from many other burn centers.”

“Working in the heart of Chicago’s South Side, our surgeons have the opportunity to serve a wide range of diverse patients and tackle a multitude of cases without hesitancy.”

Aligning with the University’s mission to teach and enrich, this all-embracing expertise enables our surgeons to teach new skills to colleagues across the nation.

Gratitude for a strong, reliable team

For over 30 years, Dr. Gottlieb has assiduously led the Burn and Complex Wound Center. He was recently joined by Sebastian Vrouwe, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, to continue the tradition of exceptional individualized care. Dr. Gottlieb is a strong advocate for team efforts and relies heavily on surgical residents and his longtime advanced nurse practitioner, Annemarie O’Connor, APN, CNP. In addition, he is infinitely grateful for the Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, David Chang, MD. “What’s been a pleasure, and palpable, is the support of Dr. Chang,” Dr. Gottlieb noted. “No section chief has provided the level of support to the Burn Center that he has.”

faculty listing

Professor of Surgery
David W. Chang, MD, Professor of Surgery; Chief, Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; Director, Microsurgery Fellowship
Lawrence J. Gottlieb, MD, Professor of Surgery; Director, Burn and Complex Wound Center
Raphael C. Lee, MD, ScD, DSc (Hon), Paul and Allene Russell Professor of Surgery; Professor of Medicine and Organismal Biology and Anatomy; Committee on Molecular Medicine
Russell R. Reid, MD, PhD, Bernard G. Sarnat MD Professor of Surgery; Professor of Pediatrics

Associate Professor of Surgery
Summer Hanson, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery

Assistant Professor of Surgery
Rebecca Garza, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery
Amanda Silva, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery
Sebastian Vrouwe, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery
Frederick Wang, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery

Clinical Professor of Surgery
Julius W. Few, Jr., MD, Clinical Professor of Surgery
Lawrence S. Zachary, MD, Clinical Professor of Surgery

Clinical Associate of Surgery
Bruce Bauer, MD, Clinical Associate of Surgery
Peter D. Geldner, MD, Clinical Associate of Surgery
Michael S. Stosich, DMD, MS, MS, Clinical Associate of Surgery
David Teplica, MD, MFA, Clinical Associate of Surgery

faculty honors

Bruce Bauer, MD, was listed as a Castle Connolly Top US Doctor.

Bruce Bauer, MD, David W. Chang, MD, Lawrence J. Gottlieb, MD, and Raphael C. Lee, MD, ScD, DSc (Hon), were named 2020 Top Doctors by Chicago magazine.

David W. Chang, MD, delivered the Buncke Lecture at the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery annual meeting.

Rebecca Garza, MD, received the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund Charitable Care Grant provided by the Plastic Surgery Foundation and used it to create the Breast Reconstruction Patient Assistance Program to assist breast reconstruction patients post-surgery. The innovative approach eases the financial burden for those who would be financially strained by covering the costs on their own.

Lawrence J. Gottlieb, MD, served as President of the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery and the North American Representative to the World Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery. He had multiple invited and keynote speaker invitations nationally and internationally, both in person and virtual. Sponsors were located in Poland, Scotland, Israel and Africa, among others.

Raphael C. Lee, MD, ScD, DSc (Hon), was a 2020 recipient of the Gold Key Award, which recognizes outstanding and loyal service to the Division of the Biological Sciences and the University of Chicago. He was appointed to the Strategic Planning Committee, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (National Institutes of Health). His proposal to apply adaptive control system modelling to personalized pharmacology was approved by two national academies. He was elected Chair of the Bioengineering Section of the Biophysical Society.

Russell R. Reid, MD, PhD, won the Plastic Surgery Research Council Best Paper award for “Differential Responsiveness to BMP9 between Patent and Fused Suture Progenitor Cells from Craniosynostosis Patients.” He was a Biological Sciences Division Distinguished Faculty Award recipient in the category Senior Distinguished Educator and Mentor.

Russell R. Reid, MD, PhD, and Michael S. Stosich, DMD, MS, MS, won a Faculty Diversity Career Advancement Grant from the Biological Sciences Division Office of Diversity and Inclusion for “Alleviating Oral Health Disparities in Cleft Care.”

Amanda Silva, MD, had a paper accepted by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. She was officially board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery. She developed a virtual plastic surgery rotation.

Since joining the section in November 2019, Sebastian Vrouwe, MD, has quickly integrated himself into the Burn and Wound Center operations, and has contributed to Burn ICU management exposure for the residents. He received the American Burn Association Traveling Fellowship Award, which will allow him to visit fellow burn centers in order to develop special techniques and skills that will ultimately benefit our patients. He is planning to visit Matthias Donelan, MD, at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston to learn additional techniques of laser treatment for hypertrophic burn scars and combining these with reconstructive procedures. He was given the Best Teacher award by UChicago Medicine residents.

Frederick Wang, MD, established a practice focused on hand, peripheral nerve and general reconstructive surgery. He was appointed Associate Director of the Limb Salvage Program. He leads development of a Skills Lab to teach basic surgical fundamentals for the residency program.

select publications

Agarwal S, Chang DW. Breast reconstruction in the patient with stable, metastatic breast cancer. Breast J. 2019 Sep 9. doi: 10.1111/tbj.13596.

Agarwal S, Chang DW. Discussion: Developing a Lymphatic Surgery Program: A First-Year Review. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2019 Dec;144(6):986e-987e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.

Agarwal S, Garza RM, Chang DW. Lymphatic Microsurgical Preventive Healing Approach (LYMPHA) for the prevention of secondary lymphedema. Breast J. 2019 Oct 20. doi: 10.1111/tbj.13667.

Alverdy AK, Pakvasa M, Zhao C, Mostafa S, Liu W, Luo W, Wolf JM, Ameer GA, He TC, Reid RR. (2019). Imiquimod Acts Synergistically with BMP9 through the Notch Pathway as an Osteoinductive Agent In Vitro. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 144(5), 1094–1103. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000006159.

Cheng MH, Chang DW, Masia J, Koshima I. Introduction of the 8th world symposium for lymphedema surgery, J Surg Oncol. 2019 Jul 9.

Coalson E, Bishop E, Liu W, Feng Y, Spezia M, Liu B, Shen Y, Wu D, Du S, Li AJ, Ye Z, Zhao L, Cao D, Li A, Hagag O, Deng A, Liu W, Li M, Haydon RC, Lewis S, Athiviraham A, Lee MJ, Wolf JM, Ameer GA, He TC, Reid RR. Stem cell therapy for chronic skin wounds in the era of personalized medicine: From bench to bedside. Genes & Diseases 2019; 6(3). doi: 10.1016/j.gendis.2019.09.008.

Furnas HJ, Li AY, Garza RM, et al. 2019. An Analysis of Differences in the Number of Children for Female and Male Plastic Surgeons. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 143(1):315-326.

Garza RM, Ooi ASH, Falk J, Chang DW. 2019. The relationship between clinical and indocyanine green staging in lymphedema. Lymphatic Research and Biology 17(3):329-333.

Hassan K, Chang DW. The Charles Procedure as Part of the Modern Armamentarium Against Lymphedema, Ann Plast Surgery, Jan 25, 2020.

Humphries LS, Roy T, Huang A, Collins J, Baroody FM, Reid RR. Airway morphological changes in Pierre Robin sequence: A Retrospective study. The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal 2020. doi: 10.1177/1055665619900624.

Inbal A, Collier ZJ, Ho CL, Gottlieb LJ. The Modified Kunlin Technique for Microsurgical End-to-End Anastomoses: A Series of 100 Flaps. J Reconstructive Microsurg. 35(6):430-437, 2019 Jul.

Lazzi G, Lee RC, Nikitia K. Real-time Wireless Monitoring Informatics for Personalized Medicine. Issue on Wireless Healthcare Biotechnology, IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation 67(8), 4946-4954 Aug. 2019.

Lee CS, Bishop ES, Dumanian Z, Zhao C, Song D, Zhang F, Zhu Y, Ameer GA, He TC, Reid RR. BMP-9-stimulated adipocyte-derived mesenchymal progenitors entrapped in a thermoresponsive nanocomposite scaffold facilitate cranial defect repair in a mouse model. Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 2019; 30(6):1915-1919. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000005465.

Quinlan K, Lowell G, Robinson M, Cowles N, Gottlieb LJ. Making microwave oven doors “child-resistant” to protect young children from severe scald. Injury Free Coalition for Kids. Dec2019.

Pakvasa M, Haravu P, Boachie-Mensah M, Jones A, Liao J, Zeng Z, Wu D, Qin K, Wu X, Luo H, Zhang J, Zhang M, He F, Mao Y, Zhang Y, Niu C, Wu M, Zhao X, Wang H, Huang L, Shi D, Liu Q, Ni N, Fu K, Lee MJ, Wolf JM, Aravind A, Ho SS, He T-C, Hynes K, Strelzow J, El Dafrawy M, Reid RR. Notch signaling: Its essential roles in bone and craniofacial development. Genes & Diseases 2020; doi: 10.1016/j.gendis.2020.04.006.

Pappalardo M, Chang DW, Masia J, Koshima I, Cheng MH. Summary of hands-on supermicrosurgery course and live surgeries at 8th world symposium for lymphedema surgery. J Surg Oncol. 2019 Jul 16.

Pham CH, Fang M, Vrouwe SQ, Kuza CM, Yenikomshian HA, Gillenwater J. 2020. Evaluating the safety and efficacy of intraoperative enteral nutrition in critically ill burn patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Burn Care Res.

Riedle H, Burkhardt AE, Seitz V, Pachaly B, Reid RR, Lee JC, Franke JE. Design and fabrication of a generic 3D-printed silicone unilateral cleft lip and palate model. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery 2019; 72(10): 1669-1674. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2019.06.030.

Robinson I, Silva AK, Abdou S, Daar D, Hazen A, Thanik V. Melting the Plastic Ceiling: Where We Currently Stand on Measures to Support Women in Academic Plastic Surgery. Accepted to Plast Reconstr Surg Dec 2019.

Silva AK, Chang DW. Discussion: Twenty-Five Years of Experience with the Submental Flap in Facial Reconstruction: Evolution and Technical Refinements following 311 Cases in Europe and Africa. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2019 Jun;143(6):1759-1760.

Silva AK, Portugal L, Blair EA. Regarding: The Medial Sural Artery Perforator Flap: A Better Option in Complex Head and Neck Reconstruction? Laryngoscope. 2020 Apr 28. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 32343425.

Silva AK, Rodriguez ED, Jacobson AS, Levine JP. Breaking down silos: the state of interdisciplinary collaboration in head and neck reconstruction. Submitted to Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery Apr 2020.

Soble JR, Resch ZJ, Schulce ET, Paxton JL, Cation B, Friedhoff C, Costin C, Fink JW, Lee RC, Pliskin NH. Examination of the MMPI-2-RF Validity and Substantive Scales in Patients after Electrical Injury. Clin Neuropsychologist 33(8):1501-1515. 2019.

Young MW, Silva AK. Discussion: Is There Gender Inequality in Plastic Surgery? Evaluation of Society Leadership and Composition of Editorial Boards. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020 Feb;145(2): 438e-439e. PMID: 31985663.

residents & fellows

View the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Residents and Fellows here.