David H. Song

David Song, MD

David H. Song, MD, MBA, is the Physician Executive Director for MedStar Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.  He is also Professor and Chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Dr. Song is internationally recognized for his expertise in microsurgical reconstruction, particularly of the breast; the economics of healthcare delivery; and surgery for lymphedema.

A plastic surgeon with advanced training in reconstructive microsurgery, Dr. Song is a pioneer in several techniques for the repair and reconstruction of the breast, chest wall and in oncoplastic surgery, in which removal of cancerous tissue is combined with reconstructive surgery. He is particularly skilled in lumpectomy and mastectomy reconstruction. He is consulted as an expert and has been featured by the popular press and media, including ABC News, Today Show on NBC, Discovery Health, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times and Vogue Magazine. In his clinical work, Dr. Song emphasizes individualized patient care. To further the advancement of research and practice in plastic surgery, he devotes time to mentoring and educating the next generation of plastic surgeons. 

Dr. Song serves as associate editor for Plastic and Reconstructive SurgeryArchives of Plastic SurgeryArchives of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In addition, he reviews manuscripts for several surgical journals, including the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, the Journal of Surgical ResearchAnnals of Plastic Surgery, and the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Song is also the editor of Volume IV of Plastic Surgery, which is considered the definitive text book in Plastic Surgery. A widely published and prolific researcher, Dr. Song has published more than 125 peer-reviewed articles, in journals such as Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the Journal of Surgical OncologyJournal of Reconstructive Microsurgery, and  JAMA Surgery. In addition, he has authored or co-authored over 25 chapters on topics including: “Outcomes in Chest Wall Reconstruction,” Algorithm for Breast Reconstruction Using Free Tissue Transfer,” and “Sternal Wounds.” Prior to joining MedStar Health, Dr. Song was Chief of the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery and Associate Dean at the Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago. He is a past president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and he serves as a Director for the American Board of Plastic Surgery and an elected member of the ACGME Plastic Surgery Review Committee. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. 

To share the results of his research, Dr. Song frequently presents his findings at national and international meetings of plastic surgeons, often as an invited keynote speaker. Topics of his presentations have included “Building to Last:  Breast Reconstruction in the Era of Heightened Cost Control,” “Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction:  Optimizing the Aesthetic Outcome,” and “Pre-Pectoral Direct to Implant Breast Reconstruction.” His professional memberships include the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery, The Plastic Surgery Foundation, and the International Confederation for Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery. He is an honorary member of the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.

His medical degree is from the University of California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, and his MBA in strategic marketing is from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He completed his surgical training in a combined general and plastic surgery residency at the University of Chicago Hospitals, where he also completed a fellowship in reconstructive microsurgery. Dr. Song is fluent in English and Korean and is able to converse in Spanish.

Research Interests 

Dr. Song’s research interests include the following:

  • Plastic surgery
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Nipple sparing mastectomy
  • Lymph node transfer
  • Lympho-venous Bypass
  • Innovative surgical techniques for the treatment of lymphedema
  • Economics of healthcare delivery

Selected Research

Dr. Song is interested in prospective clinical trials investigating treatment modalities for patients with upper extremity lymphedema resulting from breast cancer therapy. Some of his research efforts are highlighted below.

Disposable Instruments and Microvascular Breast Reconstruction
The discarding of unused disposable surgical items is an avoidable expense in the surgical setting. In this article, published in the Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery (2017;33:92-96. doi: 10.1055/s-0036-1592427), Dr. Song and colleagues discuss cost savings associated with surveying surgeons as to their supply needs for microvascular breast reconstruction.

Dynamic Operational Mapping-Tracking: Key Decision Points and Their Impact on Surgical Teamwork|
Dr. Song is a principal investigator on this National Science Foundation ExplORer Surgical LLC project. 

View Dr. Song’s publications on PubMed.

Visit Dr. Song’s clinical practice page.

  • Research Areas
  • Other Surgical