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Matthias Donelan

Matthias B. Donelan, MD

  • Plastic Surgery
Languages Spoken:
  • English

A career in academic plastic surgery has provided an ideal environment for Matthias Donelan, M.D.'s talents, professional interests and the achievement of life-defining goals. Dr. Donelan says he is extremely fortunate that the complicated process of medical school education and surgical training resulted in a passion for the specialty of plastic surgery. Personal preference and good fortune have allowed him to devote a major portion of his career to the care and reconstructive surgery of children who have sustained severe burn injuries, as well as those born with congenital abnormalities. Dr. Donelan has spent the past 35 years continuously working in the field of pediatric burn care and burn reconstruction at Shriners Children's Boston. This has given him a unique opportunity as a pediatric plastic surgeon to develop an expertise in the reconstruction of the entire range of deformities, which occur in patients following burn injuries.

Dr. Donelan's major interests have always been clinical and his practice has presented excellent opportunities for clinical research, including outcome studies, the development of new procedures and incorporation of technological innovations. He has been involved in teaching in our own surgical and plastic surgical training programs, as well as teaching medical students. He has been a frequent presenter at meetings on a national and international level. His expertise has resulted in the description of numerous innovative surgical techniques that have enhanced the care of burn patients. In addition to frequent presentations at national meetings and publications in reviewed scientific journals, Dr. Donelan has written definitive chapters in the major plastic surgery textbooks regarding burn reconstruction. These include chapters on Reconstruction of the Burned Hand and Upper Extremity, Reconstruction of the Head and Neck, Reconstruction of Facial Burn Deformities, and The Principles of Burn Reconstruction in the most widely read plastic surgical textbooks. Dr. Donelan felt honored to be recognized as an authority in these important and complex areas of human function.

During his career, Dr. Donelan has been fortunate to have had many opportunities to teach and lecture locally, nationally and internationally. This has resulted in many plastic surgical residents, fellows and plastic surgeons from around the country and around the world spending time with us at the Shriners Children's Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital.

In addition to his main area of interest and expertise, Dr. Donelan has practiced a full range of plastic surgery. This includes the treatment of cancer, reconstruction after trauma and surgical complications, innovations in the use of lasers in the reconstructive environment, as well as cosmetic surgery.

Dr. Donelan has been privileged to participate in the Massachusetts General Hospital and Combined Harvard Plastic Surgical Training Programs. Teaching contributions primarily include relationships with residents in both the clinical and operating room environment on a daily basis, as well as formal rounds and other academic activities.

Dr. Donelan has had a remarkably interesting and rewarding career. He plans to continue working primarily in the area of pediatric burn reconstruction for the remainder of his career with a primary interest in the incorporation of light-based therapies to minimize the need for ablative surgery and enhance our patient outcomes with minimal morbidity. Recent progress in these areas has been both exciting and promising. Changes in healthcare delivery and insurance systems also present challenges and opportunities in the immediate and distant future that require input from experienced practitioners of clinical surgery.

Pediatric Care


  • Plastic Surgery

More About Me

Board Certifications
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Plastic Surgery - General
Education and Training

Tufts New England Medical Center- Pathology Fellowship
Boston, MA
United States of America

Mass General Hospital
Boston, MA

Mass General Hospital
Boston, MA

Academic Positions and Locations

Harvard Medical School
Associate Professor

Leadership and Memberships
  • 2019-Present: Chief of Staff, Emeritus
  • 2014-2019: Chief of Staff
  • 1996-Present: Executive Committee Member
  • 2012-2014: Interim Chief of Staff
  • 2012-2014: Site Director, Shriners Children's Boston
  • 1982-2017: Chief of Plastic Surgery
Editorial Positions
  • 1991-Present: Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • 1992-Present: Annals of Plastic Surgery
  • 1996-Present: Journal of Trauma
  • 1997-Present: Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
  • 2002-Present: Surgery
  • 2003-Present: Burns
Awards and Honors
  • 2020, Presidential Citation, American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery
  • 2013, Nominee, Charles McCabe Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching (Years III & IV), Harvard Medical School
  • 2007, President's Award for Outstanding Presentation of Active Member, Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • 1971, Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, Tufts University School of Medicine
Providers Academic Works And Presentations Accordion Title
  • Presentation: 5th Canadian Burn Conference (10/2018)
  • 30th Annual Childhood Burn Foundation (08/2018)
  • Presentation: 60th Anniversary Meeting, Department of Burn Surgery, Shanghai Changhai Hospital (06/2018)


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