Our Faculty Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Recognition Women in Surgery

Mackinnon Receives Prestigious Award from American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Dr. Susan Mackinnon and staff. Robert J. Boston photograph.

Susan Mackinnon, MD, a pioneer in peripheral nerve surgery, received the Trustee Award from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and led the 2022 Trustees Talk at the 91st annual Plastic Surgery The Meeting in Boston.

Mackinnon, the Minot Packer Fryer Chair and Professor of Plastic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, specializes in peripheral nerve surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and nerve transplantation. She has been the president of multiple national organizations for plastic surgery and has received numerous awards for her extensive efforts in the field.

Mackinnon in surgery

Mackinnon performed the world’s first nerve allotransplantation in 1988 and is considered a leading expert in the field of peripheral nerve surgery. In addition to her work in nerve transplantation, Mackinnon has developed a number of nerve transfer techniques in which healthy nerves are rerouted into areas left paralyzed by damaged ones. Her areas of clinical interest in peripheral nerve surgery include hand, upper extremity and lower extremity injury; carpal tunnel syndrome; tarsal tunnel syndrome; thoracic outlet syndrome; brachial plexus injury; cumulative trauma disorder; nerve compression; facial palsy; and hand and upper extremity disorders and injuries.

Mackinnon joined the Department of Surgery at the Washington University in 1991. Her research work in St. Louis has been funded through the National Institute of Health since 1993 and has investigated topics such as nerve allotransplantation and nerve regeneration. This work has resulted in a novel strategy of nerve transfers to reconstruct nerve injuries.
Already a past president of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS), Mackinnon has received multiple awards from the association, including the Clinician of the Year Award and Research Achievement Award for Basic Science in 2012, and the Distinguished Fellow Award in 2016.

This year, Mackinnon was presented the inaugural Distinguished Service award from the American Society for Peripheral Nerve. She also received the AAPS Honorary Award and the Pioneer in Hand Surgery award from the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand.

At Plastic Surgery The Meeting, Mackinnon presented the Trustees Talk on addressing burnout through resilience and self-compassion.

Mackinnon, who has been a dedicated educator throughout her career, has recently gained further certifications through the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching. She is now certified as a leadership coach with several additional areas of expertise in high performance and wellbeing.


“I am so excited to have these abilities and to bring coaching into the surgery environment. I hope to complement the great mentoring and education we have, with these new skills,” says Mackinnon.

Mackinnon was recognized in 2020 for her dedication to surgical education and commitment to mentoring surgical trainees, postdoctoral students, residents and fellows when she received the Distinguished Educator Award from the School of Medicine. Mackinnon has helped hundreds of mentees follow their passions, while serving as division chief, becoming a world-renowned hand surgeon and conducting groundbreaking research on nerve allotransplantation and nerve transfer.