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Carolyn De La Cruz, MD

  • Associate Professor
  • Chief of Plastic Surgery at UPMC Shadyside
  • Director of the Comprehensive Lymphedema Center
  • Director of the Lymphatic Biology Laboratory

Dr. Carolyn De La Cruz is full time faculty dedicated to the care of the breast reconstruction patient. She has had extensive post-graduate training spanning 10 years in research, general surgery and plastic surgery in Robert Wood Johnson and University of Miami. After completing her microsurgery fellowship at MD Anderson she joined the Pittsburgh team to bring microsurgical options to breast reconstruction patients. She performs all types of breast reconstruction including free flaps, implant based reconstruction and fat grafting for women who have had mastectomies. For over a decade the microsurgical program has thrived at Magee-Womens Hospital under her direction. Dr. De La Cruz’s mission is to give each patient specialized and individualized care. Dr. De La Cruz is active in training plastic surgery residents and has won teaching awards for her dedication. As Director of the Lymphatic Biology Lab, she is active in basic science and clinical research has published numerous papers.

In order to provide complete surgical care to the breast cancer patient, Dr. De La Cruz also treats breast cancer related lymphedema. She has studied across the country and abroad to learn new techniques to improve the quality of life for these patients. She performs debulking procedures, lymphatic venous bypasses and lymph node transfers.

As a passionate advocate for breast cancer reconstruction, she is active in the community promoting awareness. Each year she organizes a Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) event: BRA day, bringing together the community. Local artists are commissioned to create works of art that tell stories of breast reconstruction. This event has been widely successful and has increased awareness across the city. It is one of the highlights of Breast Cancer Awareness month each October in Pittsburgh.

Representative Publications
Research Interests

For more information, please watch our 2023 BRA Day Video.