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James Clune, MD

Microvascular Hand Surgery, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Surgical Oncology
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Patient type treated
Child, Adult
Accepting new patients
Referral required
From patients or physicians
Board Certified in
Plastic Surgery and Surgery of the Hand (Plastic Surgery)


James Clune, MD, is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, a melanoma surgeon and an upper extremity specialist who performs over 800 procedures per year. He treats patients who have cancer and those who have been through traumas. He is highly skilled in performing surgery for the face and extremities, and in peripheral nerve reconstruction.

Some of Dr. Clune’s surgeries are highly complex. For instance, when a person loses a limb in a traumatic accident or due to a tumor, he may be part of a team that helps reroute nerves. He is skilled in performing targeted muscle reinnervation, which involves implanting residual nerves from an amputated limb to allow the patient to utilize an advanced myoeletric prosthesis instead. If a patient has lost a finger, Dr. Clune may be part of a surgical team that transfers a toe to replace it.

At the Yale Cancer Center, he also treats patients with skin cancer, and soft tissue and nerve tumors, performing surgeries to restore both function and appearance. “I really enjoy working with the melanoma team,” says Dr. Clune. “I am able to be a part of the patient’s care from start to finish. We formulate a surgical plan together, perform the resection and reconstruction and then guide patients through the healing process.”

Dr. Clune is an assistant professor of plastic surgery at Yale School of Medicine and recipient of the 2017-18 teaching award in his specialty. Before becoming a plastic surgeon, he spent four years working with Operation Smile, an international nonprofit that provides cleft lip and palate surgeries for children in developing countries. “I had the opportunity to work in 18 countries over this time period and helped coordinate care for thousands of children with congenital deformities,” he says. “To see a child have life-altering surgery regain form and function, and then to see them thrive in a society that once shunned them inspired me to dedicate my career to helping patients using plastic surgery.”

After medical school, Dr. Clune completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard. His six years of training in plastic surgery and melanoma surgery were completed at Yale, followed by an orthopedic fellowship in upper extremity surgery at the University of California, Irvine. This was followed by a fellowship in Spain in complex microsurgery for the upper and lower extremity, and brachial plexus reconstruction. Dr. Clune’s research on melanoma, upper extremity and nerve surgery has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. He continues to pursue answers to clinical problems in the laboratory. 


  • Assistant Professor of Surgery (Plastic)

Education & Training

  • Fellowship Upper Extremity Reconstruction
    Shriners Hospital for Children/University of California (2016)
  • Resident Plastic Surgery
    Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale School of Medicine (2015)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow
    Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School (2009)
  • MD
    George Washington School of Medicine (2008)
  • BA
    Wesleyan University (1999)

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • Spanish

Additional Information

  • Smilow Cancer Hospital Melanoma Program
    Yale New Haven Shoreline Medical Center
    111 Goose Lane
    Guilford, CT, 06437
  • Yale Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
    Orchard Medical Center
    330 Orchard Street, Wing Surgical Specialties Fl 2nd Floor Ste Suite E2100
    New Haven, CT, 06511
  • Yale Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Smilow Melanoma Surgery
    Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven
    35 Park Street, Wing North Pavilion Fl 8th Floor
    New Haven, CT, 06511