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James Clune, MD

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Associate Professor of Surgery (Plastic)


Leader, Multidisciplinary Care, Melanoma Program



Associate Professor of Surgery (Plastic)

Leader, Multidisciplinary Care, Melanoma Program


Dr. James Clune is an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Clune specializes in the treatment of patients with melanoma, merkel cell carcinoma, sarcoma, and complex cutaneous malignancies. In addition to treating patients with cutaneous tumors he specializes in procedures for the treatment of tumors of the upper extremity, brachial plexus tumors, brachial plexus reconstruction and peripheral nerves. Research interests include targeted muscle reinnervation after tumor extirpation or amputation and isolated limb perfusion of the extremities for soft tissue tumors and understanding the tumor microenvironment of desmoplastic melanoma.

Dr. Clune graduated from Wesleyan University and attained his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine. He then completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Children's Hospital Boston in craniofacial reconstruction. His specialty training in Plastic and Reconstructive surgery was completed at Yale with a special research focus in melanoma, followed by a fellowship in upper extremity surgery at the University of California and Shriners Hospital for Children Los Angeles with Dr. Neil Ford Jones where he focused on reconstruction of the upper extremity, soft tissue tumors of the extremities and peripheral nerve and brachial plexus reconstruction.

After completion of fellowship in California additional training was completed in Madrid, Spain in adult and pediatric brachial plexus reconstruction at the Hospital Universitario La Paz with Dr. Aleksandar Lovic and reconstructive microsurgery in Santander, Spain with Dr. Francisco Pinal.


Other Departments & Organizations

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)
George Washington School of Medicine (2008)
Wesleyan University (1999)



Tumor immunology; Tumor genetics

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Surgical Oncology

Research at a Glance

Yale Co-Authors

Frequent collaborators of James Clune's published research.






Clinical Trials

Academic Achievements and Community Involvement

  • activity

    Member, National Plastic Surgery Advisory Board

Clinical Care


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.

Clinical Specialties

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; Surgical Oncology

Fact Sheets

Board Certifications

  • Surgery of the Hand (Plastic Surgery)

    Certification Organization
    AB of Plastic Surgery
    Original Certification Date
  • Plastic Surgery

    Certification Organization
    AB of Plastic Surgery
    Original Certification Date

Yale Medicine News

Get In Touch


Academic Office Number
Secondary Academic Office Number
Appointment Number
Clinical Inquiry Number
Office Fax Number
Mailing Address

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

PO Box 208062

New Haven, CT 06520-8062

United States


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