Top Doctor Top Doctor
The Top Doctor award is a peer-nominated award for providers who give exceptional care.

Shannon M. Colohan, MD

Physician
Fred Hutch
Associate Professor, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
University of Washington School of Medicine
Specialty:
Surgery
“I believe that educating you about your options and involving you in all aspects of your care are key to achieving good outcomes.”
— Dr. Colohan
What’s the reason you became a surgeon?

Growing up I had a lot of exposure to medicine through personal experience and being the daughter of an emergency room physician. Based on that, I’ve always been interested in the medical side of things and found myself seeking out opportunities to work with physician mentors as a teenager and undergraduate student. Additionally, I have a love of art and design, and like to work with my hands. Knowing that I liked both those things led me to surgery and then to plastic surgery. I became involved in cancer care because of the humanity it brings to the medical practice. In particular, I like working to help restore a sense of normalcy during a stressful period in your life and dedicating myself to helping improve your sense of well-being. I’m also a UW associate professor of surgery in the Division of Plastic Surgery and enjoy teaching both medical students and residents. I have a background in epidemiology and a strong interest in clinical outcomes research for patients who require reconstruction as part of their cancer treatment.

Shannon Colohan, MD
How do you like to work with patients?

I believe that educating you about your options and involving you in all aspects of your care are key to achieving good outcomes. This requires good communication with you and your family, as well as collaboration with a team of extended health care providers who are all involved in your care. As a surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction, our collaborative approach is a big part of why I chose to work at Fred Hutch. We are a team of genuinely caring people who are dedicated to helping each woman through her reconstructive pathway. You benefit from a team that is wholly dedicated to breast reconstruction. That expertise — from people who spend 80-90 percent of their clinical volume doing breast cancer care and reconstruction — leads to better outcomes overall. There are also excellent collaborations with the other oncology services (sarcoma, melanoma, colorectal, gyn-oncology) that allow us to participate as a team in your care and help meet your reconstructive needs.

Melanoma Cancer that begins in the melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). It may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), but it can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as the eye or the intestines.

Provider background

Specialty: Surgery

Area of clinical practice

Plastic and reconstructive surgery

Plastic and reconstructive surgery

I am an expert at reconstructive plastic surgery with a specific focus on cancer reconstruction. My primary focus is breast reconstruction for women with cancer, including implant-based and natural-tissue (flap) procedures. I also have an interest in adolescent breast surgery including breast reconstruction of congenital asymmetries and breast reduction. I perform reconstruction for other forms of cancer (e.g. Skin cancers, sarcoma, pelvic cancers), general reconstructive plastic surgery, aesthetic surgery of the breast and body, and microsurgical reconstruction of the breast, head and neck, and other areas of the body for cancer-related reasons or traumatic injuries. Additionally, I perform excision, sentinel node biopsy and reconstruction for melanoma skin cancer. My research includes study design and clinical outcomes in reconstructive plastic surgery with an emphasis on breast reconstruction.

Biopsy The removal of a sample of tissue or fluid that is examined to see whether cancer is present. This may be done with a large needle or through surgical removal of tissue or fluids. Melanoma Cancer that begins in the melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). It may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), but it can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as the eye or the intestines.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine
Residency
Dalhousie University, Plastic Surgery
Fellowship
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Microsurgery
Board Certification
Plastic Surgery, 2010, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; Plastic Surgery, 2012, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Other
MSc, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Epidemiology
Languages
English
French
Awards
Seattle Met's 2022 Top Doctors award

Dr. Colohan has received this peer-nominated award for her exceptional patient care multiple years in a row.

Research

Clinical trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

Publications

Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch provider has written.

Your care team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your doctor and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Patient care coordinator
Patient care coordinator
Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your doctor and serves as your scheduler.

Insurance

Fred Hutch accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.

For providers