Babak J. Mehrara, MD

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

Chief, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgical Service; Peter G. Cordeiro Endowed Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Conditions Treated

Pictured: Babak Mehrara

Meet Reconstructive Surgeon Babak Mehrara

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About Me

I am a plastic surgeon who specializes in cancer reconstruction. I have specialized training in microsurgery and extensive experience in reconstruction with perforator flaps, including DIEP and SGAPs for breast reconstruction. I also have expertise in using surgical and non-surgical options to care for people with cancer-related lymphedema. My research team and I study the causes of lymphedema so that we can develop better ways to prevent and treat it.  

Microsurgery is a type of procedure in which tissues are transplanted from one part of the body to another by reconnecting small blood vessels using a microscope. Perforator flaps are the latest and most advanced microsurgical techniques available for reconstruction. These techniques are an improvement on traditional microsurgery because there is much less trauma to the area from which transplanted tissues are collected. For example, in the DIEP flap, the rectus muscle (commonly known as the “6-pack”) of the abdomen is preserved, while in traditional TRAM flap procedures this muscle is cut resulting in more pain, longer recovery, and higher chance of hernias after surgery. I have lectured nationally and internationally on breast reconstruction and have published extensively on the topic.

My research interest is lymphedema, the swelling of an extremity that develops in some people with cancer who have lymph nodes removed as part of their treatment. I have developed a number of models to study lymphedema in the laboratory with a goal of understanding how it develops. Our long-term goal is to design novel methods including surgery and medical treatments to prevent and treat lymphedema. Depending on their circumstances, I offer my patients liposuction, lymph node transfer, or lymphatic by-pass procedures. Our NIH funded laboratory has collaborations with researchers at Stanford University, MD Anderson Cancer Center, USC Medical Center, and Beth Israel Medical Center.

  • Clinical Expertise: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; Breast and Facial Reconstruction; Microsurgery; Lymphedema
  • Awards and Honors: Castle Connolly: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2010; 2013; 2016-2018)
  • Languages Spoken: English
  • Education: MD, Columbia University
  • Residencies: General Surgery - New York University Medical Center; Plastic Surgery - New York University Medical Center
  • Fellowships: Microsurgery - University of California Los Angeles Medical Center
  • Board Certifications: Plastic Surgery

My Research

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See Babak J. Mehrara’s laboratory
research at Memorial Sloan Kettering.


Pusic, AL, Cemal Y, Albornoz YC, Klassen A, CanoS, Sulimanoff I, Hernandez M, Massey M, Cordeiro P, Morrow M and Mehrara B. “Quality of life among breast cancer patients with lymphedema: a systematic review of patient-reported outcome instruments and outcomes.”  J Cancer Surviv 2013, 7(1): 83-92.

Avraham T, Zampell JC, Yan A, Elhadad S, Weitman ES, Rockson SG, Bromberg J and Mehrara BJ. “Th2 differentiation is necessary for soft tissue fibrosis and lymphatic dysfunction resulting from lymphedema.” FASEB J 2013; 27(3): 1114-1126.

Ho, A., P. Cordeiro, J. Disa, B. Mehrara, J. Wright, K. J. Van Zee, C. Hudis, A. McLane, J. Chou, Z. Zhang, S. Powell and B. McCormick (2012). “Long-term outcomes in breast cancer patients undergoing immediate 2-stage expander/implant reconstruction and postmastectomy radiation.” Cancer 2011, 118(9): 2552-2559.

Crisera, C. A., E. I. Chang, A. L. Da Lio, J. H. Festekjian and B. J. Mehrara (2011). “Immediate free flap reconstruction for advanced-stage breast cancer: is it safe?” Plast Reconstr Surg 2011: 128(1): 32-41.

Yan, A., T. Avraham, J. C. Zampell, S. Z. Aschen and B. J. Mehrara (2011). “Mechanisms of lymphatic regeneration after tissue transfer.” PLoS One 2011, 6(2): e17201.

McCarthy, C. M., A. F. Klassen, S. J. Cano, A. Scott, N. Vanlaeken, P. A. Lennox, A. K. Alderman, B. J. Mehrara, J. J. Disa, P. G. Cordeiro and A. L. Pusic (2010). “Patient satisfaction with postmastectomy breast reconstruction: a comparison of saline and silicone implants.” Cancer 2010, 116(24): 5584-5591.

Avraham, T., S. V. Daluvoy, E. R. Riedel, P. G. Cordeiro, K. J. Van Zee and B. J. Mehrara (2010). “Tissue expander breast reconstruction is not associated with an increased risk of lymphedema.” Ann Surg Oncol 2010, 17(11): 2926-2932.

Morrow, M. and B. Mehrara (2009). “Prophylactic mastectomy and the timing of breast reconstruction.” Br J Surg 2010, 96(1): 1-2.

Mehrara, B. J., J. C. Zampell, H. Suami and D. W. Chang (2011). “Surgical management of lymphedema: past, present, and future.” Lymphat Res Biol 2010, 9(3): 159-167.

Disa, J. J., C. M. McCarthy, B. J. Mehrara, A. L. Pusic, Q. Y. Hu and P. G. Cordeiro (2009). “Postmastectomy reconstruction: an approach to patient selection.” Plast Reconstr Surg 2009, 124(1): 43-52.

Avraham, T., N. Clavin and B. J. Mehrara (2008). “Microsurgical breast reconstruction.” Cancer J 2008, 14(4): 241-247.

Chen, C. M., E. G. Halvorson, J. J. Disa, C. McCarthy, Q. Y. Hu, A. L. Pusic, P. G. Cordeiro and B. J. Mehrara (2007). “Immediate postoperative complications in DIEP versus free/muscle-sparing TRAM flaps.” Plast Reconstr Surg 2007, 120(6): 1477-1482.

Mehrara, B. J., T. D. Santoro, E. Arcilla, J. P. Watson, W. W. Shaw and A. L. Da Lio (2006). “Complications after microvascular breast reconstruction: experience with 1195 flaps.” Plast Reconstr Surg 2006, 118(5): 1100-1109; discussion 1110-1101.

Selected Book Chapters
“Distraction osteogenis.” Mehrara BJ, Longaker MT, Mc Carthy JG, Hedrick MH, and Kawamoto H. In: The First International Baylor Orthodontic Symposium (Dallas, Texas). Sachdeva R, ed. Glendora, CA: Ormco; 1997.


Visit PubMed for a full listing of Babak J. Mehrara’s journal articles

Pubmed is an online index of biomedical articles maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Clinical Trials

As home to one of the world’s top cancer research centers, Memorial Sloan Kettering is typically involved in more than 900 clinical trials at a given time. Currently, clinical trials focused on the conditions I treat are enrolling new patients. If you’re interested in joining a clinical trial, click to learn about the trial’s purpose, eligibility criteria, and how to get more information.

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Most major health insurers offer plans that include MSK as one of their in-network providers. If MSK is in-network, it means all our doctors are too. Medicare and New York State Medicaid also provide benefits for care at MSK.

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