Restoring sensation and function with peripheral nerve surgery
March 2, 2023
Jonathan Cheng, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a Professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Specializing in hand surgery, peripheral nerve reconstruction, and microvascular surgery, he provides care for adults and children at UT Southwestern and Children's Medical Center in Dallas and Plano. He is Chief of Pediatric Hand, Peripheral Nerve, and Microvascular Surgery at Children’s and Director of the Basic and Translational Research Nerve Lab.
Dr. Cheng graduated from Rice University with a degree in chemical physics and a minor in art history. He earned his medical degree at the Baylor College of Medicine and completed a residency in plastic surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He received advanced training in hand, microvascular, and peripheral nerve surgery through a fellowship at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center. As the recipient of the Stephen Kroll Memorial Scholarship, he received further specialized training in perforator flap and breast reconstructive microsurgery at University Hospital Gent in Belgium.
Board certified in plastic surgery and hand surgery, he has been in practice since 2007.
Dr. Cheng’s research includes uncovering the science behind nerve injury and repair, which has led to innovative new strategies for reconstructing injured nerves. He was clinical lead for a team of researchers in the federal DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) HAPTIX program to provide improved control of robotic hand prostheses for injured military servicemen with upper extremity amputations. This multidisciplinary team, led by Edward Keefer, Ph.D., developed a new technological approach for recording and stimulating the peripheral nervous system, which holds great promise in unlocking the "neural code" that the human brain uses to control limb motion.
Dr. Cheng has authored many book chapters and research articles, and he has been a guest lecturer at numerous national and international scientific conferences.
He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, the Plastic Surgery Research Council, and the American Association of Plastic Surgeons.
Jonathan Cheng, M.D., is a board-certified plastic surgeon and hand surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center whose practice encompasses the entire spectrum of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
Dr. Cheng specializes in hand surgery, peripheral nerve reconstruction, and microvascular surgery, and he is committed to providing quality, innovative, individualized care to patients of all ages.
"Every patient has different needs and goals,” he says. "I work in partnership with each patient to create a tailored approach for what they are trying to achieve.”
Comprehensive anatomical understanding and meticulous surgical technique are essential components of expertise in plastic surgery, Dr. Cheng notes. With his knowledge and experience, he is well-prepared to perform surgery at high standards of excellence in all areas of the body, from head to toe.
“The same skill set that allows me to perform complex brachial plexus repair, facial nerve reconstruction, and microsurgical breast reconstruction makes it possible for me to perform aesthetic surgery procedures to high standards of quality and safety,” Dr. Cheng says. “Reconstructive surgery and aesthetic surgery are two sides of the same coin.”
Because of his focus on technical refinement and anatomical precision, Dr. Cheng has also developed a reputation as a surgical innovator. He was the first at UT Southwestern to perform superior gluteal artery perforator (SGAP) flap and profunda artery perforator (PAP) flap reconstructions for patients who had a mastectomy for breast cancer. Also, he brought nerve transfer reconstructions after peripheral nerve injury and neural interfacing procedures for robotic limb control to the institution.
Dr. Cheng is fully committed to serving his patients and giving them the time and attention required to address their particular needs, whether simple or complex. The success and well-being of his patients is his top priority.