Shannon M. Colohan, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Plastic and reconstructive surgery, breast cancer, melanoma
I believe that educating you about your options and involving you in all aspects of your care are key to achieving good outcomes.”
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.
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.
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 SCCA. 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.
Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine
Dalhousie University, Plastic Surgery
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Microsurgery
Plastic Surgery, 2010, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; Plastic Surgery, 2012, American Board of Plastic Surgery
MSc, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Epidemiology