Charles K. Lee, M.D., F.A.C.S. in San Francisco, CA

Meet Dr. Lee

Dr. Charles K. Lee is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon in San Francisco, CA. He has provided care for Bay Area patients for over 15  years where he provides expertise for the face, eyes, nose, breast, and body. Dr. Lee is certified through the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Lee is an Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) and is the Chief of Plastic Surgery and Director of Reconstructive Microsurgery at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Lee has been featured on television shows and teaching videos nationwide. He has presented and published papers internationally on topics in plastic surgery and microsurgery. Dr. Lee also sits on the clinical advisory board to several major medical corporations for his expertise in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Skills and Specialties

With expertise in reconstructive microsurgery and aesthetic surgery, Dr. Lee has served patients of all ages at his practice since 2003. He brings over 15 years of experience, trust, and expertise to each consultation or surgery. He is dedicated to delivering patient care with outstanding results. His work in this field has made him the recipient of numerous awards (both local and national). Patients have come from as far away as Hawaii and New York, Europe, and Asia to seek his expertise.  

Dr. Lee has medical privileges in San Francisco, CA at St. Mary’s Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, California Pacific Medical Center, and Campus Surgery Center in Daly City, CA.

Education and Training

Dr. Lee graduated from Washington University in St.Louis, with honors and as a Sholar in the the Program in Medicine where he was accepted to the School of Medicine from High School.   He completed his plastic and reconstructive surgery residency at the University of Chicago in Chicago, IL. He then went on to complete a fellowship in microsurgery and hand surgery at the Buncke Clinic in San Francisco, CA.

Professional Memberships

Dr. Lee is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties in plastic surgery. He is an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, and  is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Honors and Awards

Dr. Lee has been recognized for the following during his career:

  • San Francisco Magazine Top Docs (2015-2020)
  • Top Doctors, (San Francisco & Marin), 2011, 2012, and 2013
  • NBC Bay Area Top Physicians, 2010
  • Patients Choice Award, Plastic Surgery, 2008 – 2013
  • America’s Top Surgeons Award, 2007 – 2013
  • Traveling award, Chicago Surgical Society Traveling Award, 2003
  • Dorothy and Louis Kovitz Prize in Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, 1997
  • Scholars Program in Medicine (SPIM), Washington University
  • Dean’s List, Washington University
  • Robert Byrd Honors Scholarship
  • National Merit Commended Scholar
  • Valedictorian, Morris High School

Publications and Presentations


  • Lee, C.K., Ahn, S.T., Kim, N. Asian Upper Eyelid Surgery Clinics in Plastic Surgery, Brow and Upper Eyelid Surgery: Multi-Specialty Approach. Elsevier, January. 2013. pp 167 – 178.
  • Vig, S., Dowsett, C., Lee, C.K., et al. Evidence-Based Recommendations For The Use of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy In Chronic Wounds: Steps Toward An International Consensus, Journal of Tissue Viability, 2011 20, S1 – S18.
  • Birke-Sorensen, H., Lee, C.K., Vig, S. et al. Evidence-Based Recommendations For Negative Pressure Wound Therapy: Treatment Variables (Pressure Levels, Wound Filler And Contact Layer) – Steps Toward An International Consensus. Journal Of Plastic, Reconstructive, & Aesthetic Surgery, 2011. 4: S1 – S6.
  • Borquist, O., Lee, C.K., Ingmassen, R., Malmsjo, M. Measurements of Wound Edge Microvascular Blood Flow During Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Using Thermodiffusion And Transcutaneous And Invasive Laser Doppler Velocimetry. Accepted in Wound Repair and Regeneration Journal.
  • Runkel, N., Krug, E., Berg, L., Lee, C.K., et al. Evidence-Based Recommendations For The Use of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy In Traumatic Wounds And Reconstructive Surgery: Steps Toward An International Consensus. Injury Int. J. Care Injured, February 2011. Sx, S1 – S12.
  • Agarwal, J., Lee, C.K., Buncke, G. Thumb Replantation: Technique, Survival, And Function. Journal of Hand Surgery, 2010.
  • Herrera, F., Lee, C.K., et al. Successful Microsurgical Free Tissue Transfer In the Hypercoagulable State. Journal Of Reconstructive Microsurgery, 2011.
  • Belek. K., Lee, C.K., Hansen, S. One Stage Reconstruction of a Devastating Antebrachial Injury With Brachial Artery, Median Nerve, and Soft Tissue Deficit. ePlasty, April 30, 2010. e33, Vol 10.
  • Lee, C.K., Hansen, S. Surgical Management of Acute Wounds. Surgical Clinics of North America, Elsevier, June 2009.
  • Herrera, F., Lee, C.K., Hansen, S.L., Kiehn, M. The Superficial Branch of the SFA (Saphenous Artery) As A Recipient Vessel in Peri Knee Reconstruction. Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery, 2010.
  • Herrera, F., Lee C.K., Buncke, G., et al. Simultaneous Double Second Toe Transplantation for Multi-Digit Reconstruction. Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery, 2010.
  • Kiehn, M., Brooks, D., Lee, C.K., et al. Patency Of Radial Arteries Reconstructed After Radial Forearm Flap Harvest. Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery, 2007. 23:347-50.
  • Buncke, G., Buncke, H., Lee, C.K. Great Toe to Thumb Microvascular Transplantation in Traumatic Thumb Injuries. Hand Clinics, Elsevier, February 2007.
  • Lee, C.K., Hansen, S., Granick, M. (Editor). Surgical Management of Acute Wounds.Clinics in Plastic Surgery-Surgical Wound Healing Elsevier, November 2007.
  • Cappuccino, G., Granick, M., Lee, C.K., et al. Single Stage Treatment of Pressure Ulcers: Flap Coverage Following Debridement with a High-Pressure Parallel Water Jet. Injury, Feb/March 2007.
  • Lee, C.K., Buncke, G., Datiashvilli, R. (Editor). Great Toe to Thumb Transplantation. Clinics in Plastic Surgery, Replantation, and Transplantation, April 2007.
  • Buntic, R, Horton, K., Brooks D, Lee, C.K. Free Partial Superior Latissimus Muscle Flaps: Preservation of Donor Site Form and Function. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, May 2008.
  • Miranda, E., Lee, C.K. Vertical Rectus Myocutaneous Flap for Reconstruction of a Sacral Hernia. British Journal of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, November 2007.
  • Lee, C.K., Pardun, J., Buntic, R., et al. Severe Frostbite of the Knees after Postoperative Cryotherapy. Orthopedics, January 2007.
  • Lee, C.K., Kiehn, M., Buncke, G. Replantation. Pearls of Wisdom in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, McGraw Hill, 2006; 2010.
  • Lee, C.K., Kiehn, M., et al. Breast Reconstruction & Microsurgery. Pearls of Wisdom in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, McGraw Hill, 2006.
  • Strasberg, S., Hertl, C., Mackinnon, S.E., Lee, C.K., et al. Peripheral Nerve Allograft Preservation Improves Regeneration. Experimental Neurology, 1996. 139, 306-316.


  • Lee, C.K. Breast Cancer Reconstruction and Microsurgery, DIEP and Perforator Flaps. Presented at San Francisco City College Nursing Course, San Francisco, CA, November 2012.
  • Lee, C.K. Advanced Wound Healing: Beneath the Surface. Presented at the 1st Annual Advanced Wound Healing Symposium, San Francisco, CA, October 2012.
  • Lee, C.K. Advanced Treatment of Varicose Veins with Endovenous Laser Ablation. Presented in Marina Del Rey, CA, September 2012.
  • Lee, C.K. Reconstructive Hand Surgery and Abdominal Wall Reconstruction. Presented at Grand Rounds Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, U. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, February 2012.
  • Lee, C.K. Debridement and Use of Advanced Technologies in Wound Reconstruction. Presented at the Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology, September 2011.
  • Lee, C.K. Techniques and Results with SLIM Laser Liposculpture. Presented at the Palomar Symposium, Palace Hotel, San Francisco, CA, April 30, 2011.
  • Lee, C.K. Surgical Wound Debridement and Treatment of Venous Ulcers with EVLT, SMMC. Present at the Wound Care Symposium, April 2011.
  • Lee, C.K. Use of Biologics in Reconstructive Surgery. Presented at the Synovis Meeting, San Diego, CA, March 2010, Los Angeles, June 2010, San Francisco, CA, April 2010.
  • Lee, C.K. Negative Pressure Wound Therapy and Surgical Flaps. Presented at the International Consensus Meeting of Surgical Experts, Hamburg, Germany, February 2009.
  • Lee, C.K. Facial Fractures and Injuries. Presented at the San Francisco Giants Baseball Medicine Conference, Palace Hotel, San Francisco, CA, January 2010.
  • Lee, C.K. Negative Pressure Wound Therapy in Chronic Wounds. Presented at the International Consensus Meeting of Surgical Experts, Charing Cross, London, England, November 2009.
  • Lee, C.K. Wound Reconstruction Symposium. Presented at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, October 2009.
  • Lee, C.K. Soft Tissue Reconstruction of the Hand with Perforator Flaps. Presented at the 7th BiEnniel Plastic Surgery Scientific Program, San Francisco, CA, June 2009.
  • Lee, C.K. Musicians, Hands, & Surgeons. Presented as a special guest speaker at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco, CA, March, 2009.
  • Belek, K., Hansen, S., Lee, C.K. One Stage Reconstruction of a Devastating Antebrachial Injury with Brachial Artery, Median Nerve, and Soft Tissue Deficit. Presented at the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, Lake Tahoe, CA, May 2009.
  • Lee, C.K. Allevyn Ag-The Ideal Donor Site Dressing for Skin Grafts. Presented at the John Boswick Burn & Wound Symposium, Maui, HI, February 2009.
  • Lee, C.K. Plastic Surgery and Beyond the Extreme Makeover. Invited Speaker at the APAC Quarterly Meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 2008.
  • Lee, C.K. Replantation in the Upper Extremity. Plastic Surgery, Hand, And Upper Extremity. Presented at Grand Rounds, University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), April 2008.
  • Lee, C.K. Lower Extremity Reconstruction Around The Knee. Presented at Catholic University Hospital, Gangnam Hospital. Presented at Grand Rounds, Seoul, Korea, November 2007.
  • Lee, C.K. Muscle Versus Fasciocutaneous Flap Controversy. Presented as the President's Invited Speaker at the Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand, Seoul, Korea, November 2007.
  • Herrera, F., Lee, C.K., Kiehn, M., Hansen, S. Superficial Femoral Arterial Branch (Saphenous Artery) as Recipient Vessels for Lower Extremity Reconstruction. Presented to the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, Los Angeles, CA January 2008.
  • Lee, C.K. Nasal Reconstruction. Presented at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF)-Core Curriculum Conference, Section of Plastic Surgery, San Francisco, CA, May 2007.
  • Trovato, M., Agarwal, J., Lee, C.K., et al. Functional Assessment After Successful Thumb Replantation. Presented at CSPS, San Francisco, CA, May 2007.
  • Lee, C.K. Near Infrared Spectroscopy: Clinical Applications in Microsurgery. Presented at the UCLA Department of Plastic Surgery Journal Club, Los Angeles, CA, March 2007.
  • Lee, C.K. Lower Extremity Salvage with a Latissisimus Muscle Microvascular Transplantation After Two Failed Free Flaps In A Hypercoagulable State. Presented the Best Microsurgical Save at ASRM, Puerto Rico, January 2007.
  • Safa, B., Lee, C.K., Buncke, G., The Gracilis Musculotendinous Microvascular Transplant for Achilles Tendon Reconstruction. Presented at ASRM, Puerto Rico, January 2007.
  • Herrera, F., Lee, C.K., Camberos, A., et al, Simultaneous Double Second Toe Transplantation for Traumatic Multi-Digit Loss. Presented at ASRM, Puerto Rico, January 2007.
  • Kryger, G., Lee, C.K., Safa, B., Lohman, R., Gottlieb, L., Walton, R.L., Microsurgery in the Hypercoagulable Patient. Presented at the Plastic Surgery at the Red Sea International Symposium, Israel, March 2007.
  • Horton, K., Buntic, R., Brooks, D., Lee, C.K. Free Partial Superior Latissimus Muscle Flaps: Preservation of Donor Site Form and Function. Presented at ASPS, San Francisco, CA, October 2006.
  • Lee, C.K. Perforator Flaps In Extremity And Breast Surgery. Presented for Plastic Surgery at Grand Rounds, University of California at Davis, June 2006.
  • Paydar, K., Lee, C.K. Blepharospastic Lower Lid Entropion — Diagnosis and Treatment. Presented at the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, June 2006.
  • Dosanj, A, Hansen, S., Lee, C.K. Superior Medial Geniculate Vessels in Microsurgical Lower Extremity Reconstruction. Presented at CSPS, June 2006.
  • Lee, C.K. Multiple and Diverse Applications of Versajet in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. Poster presentation at The International Advisory Board on Surgical Wound Management, March 2006.
  • Lee, C.K. Tumors of the Upper Extremity. Presented at Grand Rounds, Stanford University, Department of Plastic Surgery, November 2005.
  • Lee, C.K. History and Future of Microsurgery. Presented at the First Annual Microsurgery Nursing Symposium, CPMC, October 2005.
  • Lee, C.K. Upper Extremity Reconstruction with Perforator Flaps. Presented at UCSF Grand Rounds, Department of Plastic Surgery, July 2005.
  • Lee, C.K., Cetrulo, C., Buntic, R., Buncke, G. Refinements in Lower Extremity Reconstruction with the Split and Enlargement Principle. Presented at CSPS, May 2005, and poster presentation at ASRM, 2006.
  • Cetrulo, C., Lee, C.K., Buntic, R., et al. Management of Exposed Total Knee Prosthesis with Microvascular Tissue Transfer. Presented at CSPS, 2005 and ASRM, 2006.
  • Cetrulo, C., Nacamuli, R., Lee, C.K. Anterior Interosseus Freestyle Perforator Flap Reconstruction of a Dorsal Hand Wound. Presented at CSPS, May 2005.
  • Lee, C.K., Kiehn, M, Buntic, R., et al. Quantitative Real-Time Measurement of Free Tissue Perfusion with Thermodilution Technology. Presented at CSPS, May 2004 and American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, January 2005.
  • Kiehn, M., Brooks, D., Lee, C.K. Patency of Radial Artery Reconstruction after Radial Forearm Free Flap Harvest. Presented at ASRM, Janurary, 2005.
  • Lee, C.K., Buntic, R., Kiehn, M., et al. Severe Frostbite of the Knees after Postoperative Cryotherapy. Presented at the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, May 2000.


"TOP NOTHCH PLASTIC SURGEON One of SF's very best set of hands, (and hearts) I met Dr Lee at the Saint Mary's PROS wound care clinic. I am an amputee who had bad scar tissue fused to bone and they needed to graft a large part of my thigh to the stump to preserve and improve my limb and thereby function. I am a worker comp patient and honestly any doc willing to take that "discounted" rate is truly in it for their patients. He and Dr Scott Hansen spent more then 8 hours working together to perform the surgery. I had numerous consults and tests for neuroma. It's a condition where the nerve tries to grow back and find it's other end. The nerve bundles onto itself as it grows into a tremendously painful ball easily triggered by movement. I was in agony and yet no one really believed me. When Dr Lee came across that nerve he spent much extra time finding that tumor and removing it. Not only was that beyond the job (i.e. it wasn't in the pre-opp surgical report,) but I'm doubtful he got paid to do that. It was NOT just a few minutes of work... on top of 8 hours solid of micro surgery. He and Dr Hansen have achieved many great things together. Team work between both patients and doctors is how the most difficult problems are solved in medicine. For one man that meant gaining function of his hands, by sacrificing a toe.  As hard as that is to imagine, think of how that patient was in CONTROL of his care.…"



"Initially I was very timid about going "under the knife," but after getting several botox treatments from Dr. Lee I have the utmost confidence that under his care, I will always be in great hands. So after staring in the mirror at my monolids and careful consideration, I decided to go back to see him for a consultation for Asian Eyelids. Boy did I make the right decision. If you're looking for THE Asian Eyelid surgery expert, Dr. Lee is the one to go to. Knowing my worries about doing any type of surgery, Dr. Lee thoroughly explained the procedure, showed me before and after photos of his "masterpieces", and assured me that he will take care of me. I am now a few months out from surgery and I love how my eyes came out. I understand that it takes time to heal, but I love the results so far. I know that Dr. Lee did surgery on my eyes, but I feel like getting this procedure done has brightened up my whole face and a better version of myself has come out to light. Again, thank you Dr. Lee!"



"I'm a practicing nurse for 30+ years, and I've worked with Dr. Lee for 5+ years. Dr. Lee's dedication to his craft of plastic surgery, specializing in hand and reconstructive microsurgery is admirable. He takes on challenging cases that many other surgeons will not. His mastery under the microscope is decisive and efficient. I've witnessed the reuniting of many severed fingers through Dr. Lee's expertise.   Dr. Lee also specializes in wound care, delivering quality of life for many of his patients. I will never fully understand the debilitating stigma of having a smelly, draining wound that one has to hide. Dr. Lee's patients do, and appreciate his restorative treatments through St. Mary's Medical Center's PROS Clinic."



"I went to Dr. Lee for a revision on my eyelids and love it ten times better. It's never a easy thing to revise a surgery that was done before let alone someone else's work. Dr. Lee gave a thorough consultation and and several followups to make sure everything was healing properly and that the lids turned out the way I liked. I highly recommend Dr. Lee whether it's you are thinking about getting something done or you are hoping to get a revision. Dr. Lee and his staff are friendly and very professional.There definitely are a lot of surgeons out there but I think the hardest part for a client is the trust part. I fully trust Dr. Lee and his judgments."



"I found Dr. Lee through a friend who recently received botox from him and how great he was.   I scheduled a consult to get my veins removed on the behind the knee area which bugged me for years since it was blue and I did not like it at all.  The office is located at St. Mary's hospital and the front desk staff was very welcoming.   When I met with Dr. Lee he was very honest about my veins and advised me that it was very minimal which it was not necessary to get it removed since it is so small and pointed out that he can barely see it.  Dr. Lee could have went ahead to schedule the procedure and charged me instead he was honest and actually made me feel better about not going through with it since it was not noticeable as I though it was.  I would definitely go back to him for other procedures since he is very honest."



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