Erika Sears

Erika D. Sears, MD, MS

Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Section of Plastic Surgery


Dr. Sears is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Section of Plastic Surgery at the University of Michigan and a Research Investigator at the VA Ann Arbor HSR&D Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR). Dr. Sears’ clinical area of expertise is in hand surgery and reconstructive plastic surgery. She completed her MD in 2006 and clinical training (plastic surgery residency and hand surgery fellowship) in 2015, all at the University of Michigan. During this time, she was a VA / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar and earned a Master’s degree in Health and Healthcare Research in 2011. After completion of clinical training, she joined the faculty at the University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System in 2015.

Dr. Sears is interested in improving the efficiency and value of surgical care and appropriate use of diagnostic tests. Dr. Sears’ most recent work focuses on assessing value of care in the pre-surgical period. She was the recipient of the Bernard G. Sarnat Excellence in Grant Writing Award from the Plastic Surgery Foundation and the J. Leonard Goldner Pioneer Award from the American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand. Dr. Sears is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Plastic Surgery Research Council, American Society for Surgery of the Hand (candidate member), and American Association for Hand Surgery. 


Impact of Pre-Referral Advanced Testing on Upper Extremity Treatment Efficiency.  N022105 (Sears, PI) 10/01/2016 – 09/30/2018 – American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand Clinical Research Grant - The major goals of this project are to evaluate the appropriateness of pre-referral advanced diagnostic testing for common hand conditions and impact on efficiency of care.

The Impact of Preoperative Mammography on Reduction Mammoplasty Episodes of Care. #511529(Sears, PI) 07/01/2017 – 06/30/2018 – Plastic Surgery Foundation – This will evaluate the national practice patterns of mammography utilization in patients evaluated for symptomatic macromastia and downstream health care utilization across age groups.

Choosing Wisely: Barriers to De-Implementation, Patterns and Costs of Low Value Preoperative Testing for Veterans Undergoing Low Risk Procedures. I01 HX002314-01A1 (Sears, Co-I) 10/01/2017 – 09/30/2020 – VA HSR&D Merit – The purpose of this study is to identify opportunities and strategies to reduce low value preoperative testing. 

Published Articles or Reviews

Sears ED, Swiatek PR, Chung KC.  National Utilization Patterns of Steroid Injection and Operative Intervention for Treatment of Common Hand Conditions.  Journal of Hand Surgery 2016; 41: 367 – 373. (PMID: 268774548)

Sears ED, Swiatek PR, Hou H, Chung KC.  Utilization of Preoperative Electrodiagnostic Studies for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: An Analysis of National Practice Patterns.  Journal of Hand Surgery 2016; 41: 665 – 672. (PMID: 27068003)

Sears ED, Caverly TJ, Kullgren JT, Fagerlin A, Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Prenovost K, Kerr EA.  Clinicians’ Perceptions of Barriers to Avoiding Inappropriate Imaging for Low Back Pain: Knowing is Not Enough.  JAMA Internal Medicine 2016; 176: E1-2. (PMID: 27749950)

Sears ED, Wu L, Waljee JF, Momoh AO, Zhong L, Chung KC.  The Impact of Deep Sternal Wound Infection on Mortality and Resource Utilization: A Population-based Study.  World Journal of Surgery 2016; 40: 2673 – 2680. (PMID: 27283188) 

Sears ED, Swiatek PR, Hou H, Chung KC.  The Influence of Insurance Type on Management of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: An Analysis of Nationwide Practice Trends.  Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2016; 135: 1041-1049. (PMID: 27783000)

Sears ED, Momoh AO, Chung KC, Lu Y, Zhong L, Waljee JF.  A National Study of the Impact of Delayed Flap Timing for Treatment of Patients with Deep Sternal Wound Infection.  Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2017; Epub Ahead of Print, April 1, 2017. (PMID: 28376028).

Sears ED, Lu Y, Wood SM, Nasser JS, Hayward RA, Chung KC, Kerr EA.  Diagnostic Testing Requested Before Surgical Evaluation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Journal of Hand Surgery 2017; Epub Ahead of Print, June 28, 2017. (PMID: 28666673)

A full list of publications can be found here