Wai-Yee Li, M.D., Ph.D.
- Assistant Clinical Professor, Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery
- Plastic Surgeon
Wai-Yee Li, M.D., Ph.D.
- Plastic Surgery
- Breast cancer reconstruction
- Chest and abdominal wall reconstruction
- Skin cancer resection and reconstruction
- Vaginal reconstruction
I absolutely love Dr. Li and have nothing but high praise and the best to say about her. …very caring and personal approach …The best doctor I could ask for …
When patients are diagnosed with cancer, many ask, "How will I look once my cancer is taken away?" As a wife and mother of two, Dr Wai-Yee Li M.D., Ph.D., recognizes the importance of restoring patients after cancer surgery. “Whether it’s the face or the breast, people want to look and feel as normal as they can after their cancer is removed. Surviving cancer is about having a good quality of life and feeling great about yourself."
Dr Li specializes in post-cancer reconstruction all over the body, including breast, chest and abdominal wall, vaginal reconstruction and skin cancer resection and reconstruction. She recently set up a Skin Cancer Excision Clinic, at the City of Hope Duarte campus, allowing patients easier access to one-stop outpatient surgery.
Dr. Li also specializes in the treatment of lymphedema, a swelling that develops due to the abnormal collection of fluid beneath the skin, most commonly in an arm or leg. This can occur when lymph nodes are removed or damaged during cancer treatment.
A board-certified diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Dr Li obtained her membership of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2001. Born and raised in London, England, Dr Li is of Chinese origin and is fluent in Cantonese. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pathology, with honors, from the University of Birmingham, England, where she also completed her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery.
Following an internship in Internal Medicine and General Surgery, Dr Li first encountered breast cancer patients as a general surgery resident at the world-renowned Royal Marsden Hospital. However, instead of performing mastectomies, she was far more interested in how to reconstruct patients’ breasts. This was the trigger to embark upon Plastic and Reconstructive surgery training at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead. She went on to pursue a PhD in wound healing and craniofacial development, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, granted by the University of Manchester.
During this time she was awarded multiple fellowships including The Joint American College of Surgeons and Royal College of Surgeons of England USA Fellowship, the CHLA Research Institute Career Development Award and the Wound Healing Foundation/3M Fellowship. Dr. Li then completed her 6-year residency in Plastic and Reconstructive surgery at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. This was followed by a pediatric plastic surgery fellowship at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
During her training, Dr. Li was the recipient of several honors, awards and scholarships and holds active memberships with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Wound Healing Society and the World Association of Plastic Surgeons of Chinese Descent. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters, and is frequently invited to present her work at international conferences and meetings. Most recently, she presented work on nipple-sparing mastectomy reconstruction in Wuhan, China and Hong Kong. She also serves on the editorial board for the Annals of Plastic Surgery journal.
- 2002-2008 - University of Manchester, England, Wound Healing and Craniofacial Development
- 2000-2001 - Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, England, Senior SHO Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- 1997-1999 - The Royal Marsden and St. Heliers Hospital, Surrey, England, Basic Surgical Training
- 1990-1996 - University of Birmingham Medical School, England, MB, ChB, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery
- 1994-1995 - University of Birmingham, England, B.Sc., Pathological Studies, with Honors
- 2014-2015 - Pediatric Plastic Surgery Fellow, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
- 2008-2014 - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
- 1996-1997 - Internship, Medicine and Surgery, Crawley Hospital, West Sussex, England
- California Medical License
Prevalence and Awareness of Authorship Issues: A Study of Academic Plastic Surgeons. Reinisch JF, Li WY, Yu DC and Walker JW. Plast Reconstr Surg. Aug 2013: 132(2):303e-10e.
Bilateral spontaneous flexor digitorum profundus tendon rupture of the fifth digit: case report and literature review. Li WY, Rommer E and Kulber DA. Hand. May 2013: 8: 239-241.
Guide to Early Surgical Management of Lip Hemangiomas Based On Our Experience of 214 cases. Li WY, Chaudry O and Reinisch JF. Plast Reconstr Surg. November 2011:128 (5):1117 – 1124
Pits, Cysts and Tumors. Li WY and Reinisch JF. Plast Reconstr Surg. July 2009 ;124 (1 Suppl):106e-116e.
Signaling through Tgf-beta type I receptor Alk5 is required for upper lip fusion. Li, WY Dudas, M. and Kaartinen, V. Mechanisms of Development. 2008. 125 (9-10) 874-882.
Tissue-specific expression of Cre recombinase from the Tgfb3 locus. Yang, LT, Li, WY and Kaartinen, V. Genesis. 2008. 46(2): 112-118.
Invited Review: Palatal Fusion – Where Do The Midline Cells Go? Dudas M, Li WY, Kim J, Yang A, Kaartinen V. Acta Histochemica. January 2007, 109 (1-14).
Epithelial And Ectomesenchymal Role Of The Type I TGF-b Receptor Alk5 During Facial Morphogenesis And Palatal Fusion. Dudas M, Kim J, Li WY, Nagy A, Larsson J, Karlsson S, Chai Y, Kaartinen V. Developmental Biology. Aug 2006, 296(2):298 - 314.
TGF-b3 Affects PAI-1 Expression In Fetal Mice And Modulates Fibroblast-Mediated Collagen Gel Contraction. Li WY, Huang EY, Dudas M,, Kaartinen V, Warburton D, Tuan TL. Wound Repair Regeneration. June 2006, 14 516 - 525
The Plasminogen Activator/Plasmin System: A Major Player In Wound Healing? Li WY, Chong, SN, Huang EY and Tuan TL. Wound Repair Regeneration. 2003, 11 (4) 239 -247.
Reliability Of Pre-Operative Biopsies In The Histological Grading Of Colorectal Adenocarcinomas. Burton S, Li WY, Eddy B, Reddy K, Aslam M, Owen ERTC and Weston J. Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 2003, 85 (1) 23-25
Microdochectomy In Women Aged Over 50 Years. Burton S, Li WY, Himpson R, Sulieman S and Ball A. Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 2003, 85(1)
Comprehensive Cleft Care. Eds. Losee J and Kirschner RE. Chapter 29: Complications of Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery. Reinisch JF, Li WY and Urata, M. New York. McGraw-Hill. 2008
- American Society of Maxilofacial Surgeons
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- World Association of Plastic Surgeons of Chinese Descent
- Royal College of Surgeons of England
- 2014, Leonard R. Rubin, American Association of Plastic Surgeons Best Paper Award
- 2013, Southern California Clinical and Translational Institute Pilot Funding Award, Novel Methods and Technology: Tissue Engineered Auricle for Microtia application
- 2012, The Operation Smile Stryker Fellowship to Fund Mission trip to Fengkai, Guangzhou, China
- 2006, American College of Surgeons Excellence in Research Award
- 2003-2004, The Joint American College of Surgeons and Royal College of Surgeons of England USA Fellowship
- 2003, 3M/American Wound Healing Foundation Young Investigator Fellowship Award
- 2002-2003, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Research Institute Career
- 1995, Francis Brett Young Scholarship
- 1995, The University of Birmingham Graduate Travel Award
- 1995, The British Medical and Dental Students Trust Travel Award
- 1995, The Arthritis and Rheumatism Council Medal in Rheumatology
- 1994, The Arthritis and Rheumatism Council Scholarship
- 1994, The Medical Defense Union Elective Travel Award
- 1993, Medical School Best Essay Prize in Pathological Studies, University of Birmingham, England