Our Faculty Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Recognition

Mackinnon Receives AAPS Honorary Award

Susan Mackinnon, MD, the Minot Packer Fryer Professor of Plastic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS) 2022 Honorary Award.  

The Honorary Award is the highest honor that the Association bestows. “It is awarded annually to recognize outstanding contributions in either the humanities or sciences related to medicine and surgery and appropriate for recognition by the specialty of plastic surgery,” the Association states. 

Mackinnon will be presented with the award at the AAPS’s 100th Annual Meeting, which will take place this April in San Diego, California.  

In January, she was honored with the inaugural Distinguished Service award from the American Society for Peripheral Nerve. She will also receive the Pioneer in Hand Surgery award from the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand this June in London, England. 

“As a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, to receive these three awards from my academic colleagues is gratifying, to say the least,” says Mackinnon. 

Mackinnon, former chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and recipient of a 2020 Distinguished Educator Award from the School of Medicine, is widely recognized as an international pioneer on nerve regeneration, nerve transfer and nerve transplant. She performed the first ever human nerve allotransplant in 1988, pioneered the introduction of nerve transfer surgery and performed the first nerve transfer to provide hand function in a quadriplegic patient in 2010. Mackinnon’s groundbreaking work has produced a paradigm shift in the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries. Today surgeons introduce new nerve transfers on a regular basis, helping patients around the world. 

In years since, Mackinnon and the team of investigators at the Plastic Surgery Research Laboratories have pioneered a new era of nerve surgery, developing advanced techniques and a greater understanding of nerve injury and regeneration. 

Throughout her exceptional career, Mackinnon has been a prolific contributor to medical literature, with a published textbook on nerve surgery and more than 700 peer-reviewed articles. She has won numerous awards, including the American College of Surgeons’ Jacobson Innovation Award in 2013. Furthermore, Mackinnon is a renowned educator and has been responsible for the interdisciplinary training of an entire generation of specialists interested in the surgical treatment of peripheral nerve injuries, including neurosurgeons, orthopedists, and plastic surgeons. 

“Susan serves as a role model for all of us on what an outstanding academic career looks like,” says Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Justin Sacks, MD, MBA.     

The AAPS had previously recognized Mackinnon for her exceptional career in plastic surgery. In 2012, she received the organization’s Clinician of the Year Award and Research Achievement Award and in 2016, she received the Distinguished Fellow Award. She also served as the organization’s president in 2008. 

“On behalf of the department, I would like to congratulate Dr. Mackinnon for this honor,” says Timothy Eberlein, MD, the William K. Bixby Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery.  “This award is just recognition of the incredible contributions she has made to her field.”