Research Report 2018

Dr. John Semple | Senior Scientist, Plastic Surgeon and Head of the Division of Plastic Surgery

Same-day breast reconstruction surgery for cancer patients

Patients with breast cancer face tremendous challenges navigating our complex healthcare system and staying connected with their care team throughout their recovery. Dr. John Semple’s research is helping women who are transitioning through their breast cancer treatment focusing on state-of-the-art breast reconstruction surgical techniques, as well as developing affordable and appropriate mobile technology to improve healthcare outcomes during recovery.  

A leader in plastic surgery innovation, Dr. Semple has developed ambulatory processes that allow patients undergoing breast reconstruction to go home after just 18 hours, instead of the typical six-day hospitalization. Patients are now able to return home the same day both safely and without pain, while also reducing hospital costs and lowering the risk of hospital-acquired infections. Further to this, Dr. Semple is studying the experiences of these surgical patients once they’ve left the hospital, using an app to monitor patients’ quality of recovery after surgery. Patients who used the mobile app had fewer in-person visits with their healthcare provider post-surgery, emphasizing the importance of developing accessible, patient-centred care that keeps patients engaged in their care without unnecessary follow-up appointments.  

Dr. Semple is also focused on addressing changes in healthcare related to climate change, as he believes climate change medicine will be a growing field in the near future. With increasing amounts of air pollution, floods, extreme heat events and infectious disease, climate change strongly affects the social and environmental determinants of health. Some of these negative health effects that Canadians will experience include respiratory diseases, skin cancer, cataracts, intestinal disorders and more. Dr. Semple has published a variety of papers on the effect of climate change across the globe and is now investigating similar changes in the Canadian high artic and the potential impact on health outcomes.