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Stephan Ariyan, MD, MBA

Frank F. Kanthak Professor Emeritus of Surgery

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Stephan Ariyan, MD, MBA

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Dr. Stephan Ariyan is the Frank F. Kanthak Professor Emeritus of Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Surgical Oncology, and Otolaryngology at Yale University School of Medicine.

He received his medical degree from New York Medical College and completed his training in general surgery as well as plastic surgery at Yale, becoming certified by both the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  He was then asked to join the faculty at Yale in 1976, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2 years, appointed Chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the 3rd year, and rose to the rank of tenured full Professor in another 2 years. 

He served as Associate Chief of the Department of Surgery from 2007-2013. 

In 1976 he founded the Yale Melanoma Program, the first multidisciplinary team at the Yale Cancer Center, and served as its Director until his retirement in 2017.

Dr. Ariyan is an internationally known surgeon specializing in the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer, breast cancer, and malignant melanoma.  He has been recognized for the origination and development of several myocutaneous flaps for reconstructions of the head and neck- most notably the Pectoralis Major Flap, which has become the most commonly used flap for head and neck reconstruction worldwide.  He established the Microsurgery Service at Yale in 1976, performing the first replantations of fingers and free flaps in Connecticut.  He developed and performed the first composite microvascular free flap reconstruction of the jaw using the anterior vascular supply to the rib, and proved with fluorochrome markers that bone can be transferred on its periosteal blood supply. 

Following the devastating earthquake in Armenia in December 1988, he was asked by the government of the then Soviet Union to help care for the many victims. During that visit, and after meeting with the Minister of Health, he noted the absence of trained reconstructive surgeons in Armenia. He therefore selected a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses from Armenia, which he trained at Yale from 1990-1991, with the joint collaborative efforts of the USAID, the ECFMG, the RRC for Plastic Surgery, the Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale-New Haven Hospital. That team returned to Armenia in 1992, formed the Armenian Board of Plastic Surgeons, and established a certifying examination for the many plastic surgeons they have trained.  The success of this effort has been cited by the USAID as the model for the implementation of health care education in the redevelopment of other countries. He was recognized for this service by a Presidential Award of the Republic of Armenia.

He has served as Vice-Chairman of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, President of 6 national surgical societies, and Founding President of the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Ariyan has been awarded numerous recognitions including the Medal of Honor from New York Medical College, the Scholar Award from the American College of Surgeons, the Presidential Award from the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons, the Presidential Citation from the American Head and Neck Society, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New England Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, and the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who

He has authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific papers, and five surgical books (one of them, The Hand Book, has been published in three editions in English, Spanish, and Japanese).  He has served on the editorial boards of two surgical journals. He is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Yale Surgical Videos.

His former residents have honored him with the endowed ARIYAN LECTURESHIP for an annual lecture in the Department of Surgery.

Education & Training

  • MBA
    University of New Haven (1993)
  • UICC Fellowship
    Sydney University (1981)
  • Hand Surgery Fellowship
    Yale University School of Medicine (1976)
  • Plastic Surgery Residency
    Yale University School of Medicine (1976)
  • General Surgery Residency
    Yale University School of Medicine (1975)
  • NIH Cancer Fellowship
    Yale University School of Medicine (1971)
  • Residency
    University of California - San Diego (1968)
  • Surgical Internship
    UCLA-HGH (1967)
  • MD
    New York Medical College (1966)
  • BS
    Long Island University-University Center (1962)


  • Board Certification
    AB of Surgery, Surgery General (1978)
  • Board Certification
    AB of Plastic Surgery, Surgery Plastic (1977)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement AwardMarquis Who's Who2017
MEDAL OF HONORNew York Medical College2016
Robert Goldwyn Lifetime Achievement AwardNew England Society of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons2015
Distinguished FellowAmerican Association of Plastic Surgeons2010
Presidential CitationAmerican Head and Neck Society2002
Presidential AwardRepublic of Armenia1994
Presidential AwardAmerican Society for Head and Neck Surgery1993
Distinguished Service AwardSociety of Head and Neck Surgeons1989
SCHOLARAmerican College of Surgeons1973

Departments & Organizations