Jonas A. Nelson, MD

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

Conditions Treated

Memorial Sloan Kettering plastic and reconstructive surgeon Jonas Nelson
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About Me

I am a plastic surgeon who specializes in complex reconstruction after surgery for breast cancer, head and neck cancers, and skin cancer. I have particular expertise in microsurgical breast reconstruction, head and neck reconstruction with free-tissue transfer, and complex abdominal wall reconstruction. While our primary goal at Memorial Sloan Kettering is to cure cancer, appearance and quality of life are essential components of life after cancer. That’s why I strive to help my patients look and feel like themselves as much as possible after their cancer treatment.

I was drawn to a career in oncology after watching a close family member confront cancer when I was young. I was later led to plastic surgery after working closely with a plastic surgeon on several international medical trips. I saw that surgeon’s ability to help patients regain a sense of normalcy. Later in my education, I discovered just how critical reconstructive surgery can be, both functionally and psychologically.

As a former college athlete, form and function have always been important to me. I am especially interested in helping people recover quickly and safely after surgery. I also want to help them achieve a similar degree of function so that they can get back to doing the things they love. Much of my research specifically looks at recovery after breast reconstruction using free abdominal tissue (DIEP and msfTRAM flaps). I strive to help patients recover function quickly following breast reconstruction or other reconstructive surgeries.

My research interests also focus on patient-reported outcomes after reconstruction, particularly breast reconstruction. I hope to gain a better understanding of what leads to long-term satisfaction following reconstructive procedures. We can then use this data to achieve better overall results for people who have had cancer.

A cancer diagnosis and the procedures needed to treat the disease can cause anxiety and stress. When I meet with patients and their families, I hope to help alleviate some of their anxieties by answering their questions and clearly laying out a plan of action. At MSK, it is our job to care for our patients. We take extraordinary pride in providing top-level care. I want my patients to walk away from their consultation feeling reassured that they are in good hands.

When not at work, I am with my wife and three daughters, often enjoying some aspect of the city, food, music, or fitness.

  • Clinical Expertise: Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy; Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction; Autologous Breast Reconstruction; Head and Neck Reconstruction; Extremity Reconstruction; Mohs Cancer Reconstruction; Ventral Hernia Repair; Surgical Management of Lymphedema
  • Languages Spoken: English
  • Education: MD, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • Residencies: Plastic Surgery – Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; General Surgery – Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania;
  • Fellowships: Breast Reconstruction & Microsurgery – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship – Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania;


Visit PubMed for a full listing of Jonas A. Nelson’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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