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Title Section Head of Hand Surgery
Department Plastic Surgery
Primary Location Fairview Hospital
Type of Doctor Adults Only
Languages English, Taiwanese
Surgeon Yes
Fairview Hospital
Primary Location

Fairview Hospital


Additional Locations

Specialties & Treatments

Treatment & Services

  • Amputation
  • Arm Reconstruction
  • Benign Soft Tissue Tumor Surgery
  • Brachial Plexus Reconstruction
  • Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Surgery
  • Fracture Care
  • Hand Reconstruction
  • Hand Surgery
  • Neck Surgery
  • Nerve Biopsy
  • Nerve Transfers for Injury/Tumor
  • Peripheral Nerve Decompression/Transfer
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interface (RPNI)
  • Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR)
  • Thumb Reconstruction
  • Upper Extremity Surgery
  • Wrist Reconstruction
  • Wrist Surgery
View all 19 Treatment & Services +

Specialty in Diseases & Conditions

  • Anterior Interosseous Nerve (AIN) Palsy
  • Arthritis of the Hand
  • Arthritis of the Thumb Base
  • Arthritis of the Wrist
  • Benign Soft Tissue Tumors
  • Brachial Neuritis
  • Brachial Plexus
  • Brachial Plexus Injury
  • Broken Bones
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Dupuytren's Disease
  • Finger Sprains
  • Fractures of the Hand
  • Hand and Wrist Injuries
  • Hand Problems
  • Nerve Compression of the Hand
  • Nerve Diseases
  • Nerve Injuries
  • Nerve Tumors
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Neuromas
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Neuropathy - Diabetic
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Peripheral Nerve Disorders
  • Peripheral Nerve Injury
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Posterior Interosseous Nerve (PIN) Palsy
  • Trigger Finger
  • Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
  • Wrist Diseases
View all 34 Specialties +


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About Dennis Kao, MD

Dennis Kao, MD, is a hand surgeon and peripheral nerve surgeon at Cleveland Clinic. He received his medical training from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He then completed plastic surgery residency and hand surgery fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Following his interested in microsurgery and peripheral nerve surgery, he completed an additional fellowship at Chang Gung Hospital in Taiwan. 

Dr. Kao’s special interests include reconstructive hand surgery, peripheral nerve and brachial plexus injuries, and treatment of neuroma pain. 

He is board-certified in plastic surgery, with certificate-added qualification in hand surgery. His main clinical interests include endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery, peripheral nerve transfer, brachial plexus reconstruction, thoracic outlet syndrome, and surgical management of neuroma.

Education & Professional Highlights

Education & Professional Highlights


Education & Fellowships

Fellowship - Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
Taoyuan, Taiwan

Fellowship - Medical College of Wisconsin
Hand Surgery
Milwaukee, WI USA

Residency - Medical College of Wisconsin
Plastic Surgery
Milwaukee, WI USA

Medical Education - The University of Texas Medical Branch
Medical Doctor
Galveston, TX USA

Undergraduate - University of Washington
Seattle, WA USA


  • Plastic Surgery - Hand Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery

Specialty Interests

Hand surgery, peripheral nerve surgery, brachial plexus surgery, neuroma surgery

Research & Publications

Research & Publications

See publications for Dennis Kao, MD.

(Disclaimer: This search is powered by PubMed, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. PubMed is a third-party website with no affiliation with Cleveland Clinic.)

Industry Relationships

Industry Relationships

Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists may collaborate with the pharmaceutical or medical device industries to help develop medical breakthroughs or provide medical expertise or education. Cleveland Clinic strives to make scientific advances that will benefit patient care and support outside relationships that promise public benefit. In order for the discoveries of Cleveland Clinic physicians' and scientists' laboratories and investigations to benefit the public, these discoveries must be commercialized in partnership with industry. As experts in their fields, Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists are often sought after by industry to consult, provide expertise and education.

To assure professional and commercial integrity in such matters, Cleveland Clinic maintains a program that reviews these collaborations and, when appropriate, puts measures in place to minimize bias that may result from ties to industry. Cleveland Clinic publicly discloses the names of companies when (i) its physicians/scientists receive $5,000 or more per year (or, in rare cases, equity or stock options) for speaking and consulting, (ii) its physicians/scientists serve as a fiduciary, (iii) its physicians/scientists receive or have the right to receive royalties or (iv) its physicians/ scientists hold any equity interest for the physician's/scientist's role as inventor, discoverer, developer, founder or consultant.* In publicly disclosing this information, Cleveland Clinic tries to provide information as accurately as possible about its physicians' and scientists' connections with industry.

As of 10/28/2023, Dr. Kao has reported no financial relationship with industry that is applicable to this listing. In general, patients should feel free to contact their doctor about any of the relationships and how the relationships are overseen by Cleveland Clinic. To learn more about Cleveland Clinic's policies on collaborations with industry and innovation management, go to our Integrity in Innovation page.

Public Health Service-Reportable Financial Conflicts of Interest. Cleveland Clinic scientists and physicians engage in basic, translational and clinical research activities, working to solve health problems, enhance patient care and improve quality of life for patients. Interactions with industry are essential to bringing the researchers' discoveries to the public, but can present the potential for conflicts of interest related to their research activities. Click here to view a listing of instances where Cleveland Clinic has identified a Public Health Service (PHS)-Reportable Financial Conflict of Interest and has put measures in place to ensure that, to the extent possible, the design, conduct and reporting of the research is free from bias.

* Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists subscribe to the guidance presented in the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals and the AdvaMed Code of Ethics on Interactions with Health Care Professionals. As such, gifts of substantial value are generally prohibited.

Patient Satisfaction Reviews

277 Patient Satisfaction Reviews

The Patient Satisfaction Rating is an average of all responses to the care provider related questions shown below from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Patients that are treated in outpatient or hospital environments may receive different surveys, and the volume of responses will vary by question.

Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score.

The comments are submitted by patients and reflect their views and opinions. The comments are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cleveland Clinic.

Overall Star Ratings
4.8 out of 5
Explains 4.8
Listens 5
Courtesy, Respect & Concern 4.8
Patient Rating of Doctor 4.8

44 Patient Comments

Reviewed on Nov 8, 2023

Let me tell you thisDr. Kao did surgery on my left hand last year & was awesome. He did my right hand 3 weeks ago & was just as awesome fantastic and caring! He is a GEM! Just cannot say enough good about him. I have been recommending Dr. Kao to friend's & family & others I don't even know well. I wish every Doctor could be as caring kind wonderful as he is! Interns should train under him in the respect kindness concerns he shows!

Reviewed on Oct 19, 2023

Dr Lao was excellent, personable, explained in detail what the problem was and treatments available.

Reviewed on Oct 19, 2023

Have already recommended the Dr.

Reviewed on Oct 16, 2023

Kao is an excellent dr. I trust and like him very much.

Reviewed on Oct 12, 2023

Dr Kao immediately identified my injury and help me discover I have perpherial nerve damage and the other Dr dismissed me and told me NOT toCome back because he can't help me.Dr Kao has helped save my life just with oneExam of my hand.

Reviewed on Oct 12, 2023

Dr Kao is an excellent Dr and don'tDiscriminate with peopleThe past Dr refused to examine my head and tried to convince me my head injury is migraines.3 years of constant head pain in the brain area connected to Perpherial nerve

Reviewed on Sep 28, 2023

The two doctors that worked with were excellent.

Reviewed on Aug 2, 2023

*Dr. Kao is outstanding!

Reviewed on Jul 26, 2023

Dr. Kay was fantastic! He diagnosed my problem and gave me the freedom to deal with it as I thought best for me. His recommendation for a cortisone shot proved to be just what I needed. Lucky to have met him since Dr. Masin retired. I'm sure I found my new doctor!!

Reviewed on Jul 26, 2023

Dr Kao rocks!!!

Reviewed on Jul 13, 2023

I liked Dr. Kao's calm approach when heexplained the surgical procedure to me , and why the incision was so much smaller than I had expected.I am still in awe how fast everything went - from checking in to beeing relreased.

Reviewed on Jun 28, 2023

Dr. Kao is awesome. Excellent patient CARE. This visit was great but the wrist procedure he performed in early June was incredible. He gave the options for HOW we could repair my wrist and I chose to go without anesthesia. Great decision. He and the procedure Nurse were fantastic during the procedure in caring for me. AND I no longer have wrist pain!! He is an excellent physician in both care and respect for his patient.

Reviewed on Jun 12, 2023

Dr. Kao was very friendly.

Reviewed on Jun 8, 2023

Dr Koa was excellent. His professional experience and caring attitude made my experience terrific

Reviewed on Jun 7, 2023

Dr Kao did an excellant job in addressing my carpal tunnel issues and prescribing follow up tests.

Reviewed on Jun 7, 2023

Did an excellent job. Would highly recommend him to others.

Reviewed on Jun 1, 2023

Dr Kao and his staff is always helpful, supportive, and professional

Reviewed on May 25, 2023

Great doctor!

Reviewed on May 10, 2023

Dr. Kao was very kind and attentive and really helped me understand my condition.

Reviewed on May 10, 2023

I never needed a hand specialist before and Dr. Kao was very kind and helpful.

Reviewed on May 10, 2023

Dr. Kao was very helpful in understanding the next steps.

Reviewed on May 8, 2023

While dr Kao was courteous my main concern was how to get relief from the pain, inflammationandswelling of both hands and wrists. He offered no stretching or massage exercises and nothing forthe swelling. Instead he noticed an area on my X-ray indicating arthritis and he proceeded describing surgery he could perform to replace that joint. I brought his attention back to my wrists/hands asking how/what could be done to offer relief. Again he basically said I needed to have an EMG test first then possibly cortisone shot. When I said it could be weeks of suffering before getting tested and back into see him..he simply smiled. Said they'd try to get me back in as quickly as possible.

Reviewed on Apr 17, 2023

Dr. Kao has been wonderful and receives my highest recommendation.

Reviewed on Apr 10, 2023

Doctor was fabulous - personable, professional and courteous.

Reviewed on Apr 6, 2023

Very satisfied and happy wonderful doctor.

Reviewed on Apr 3, 2023

Dr. Kao was fantastic!

Reviewed on Mar 13, 2023

Dr. Kao is amazing. He took the time to answer all of my questions about my medical condition and upcoming surgery. I am very confident in his knowledge and abilities.

Reviewed on Mar 9, 2023

Very kind and caring physician and staff.

Reviewed on Mar 2, 2023

The doctor and staff were outstanding

Reviewed on Feb 27, 2023

Dr. Kao was excellent and would refer him and want to use him again if needed. He was very good in his explanations and what I should expect.Very good surgeon.

Reviewed on Feb 23, 2023

Dr. Kao has very good bedside manor

Reviewed on Feb 13, 2023

Dr Kao listened carefully and answered all my questions.

Reviewed on Feb 8, 2023

Scheduler was courteous & helpful. My PCP (Dr. Mark Mekhail) suggested several physicians who were appropriate for my hand issue.

Reviewed on Feb 1, 2023

I would recommend anyone to DR. Kao in his field. I'm thankful for his expertise and got me back to work and daily duties. He was attentive to my needs during surgery and my aftercare and therapy.

Reviewed on Jan 16, 2023

Dr kao was amazing

Reviewed on Jan 16, 2023

Dr. Kao was wonderful during my consult with him. He was patient and kind while I asked my series of questions. I am now at ease and ready for my surgery with Dr. Kao.

Reviewed on Jan 16, 2023

Dr. Kao is the best! He is patient and explains all of the complex medical stuff in a way for the patient to easily understand.

Reviewed on Jan 9, 2023

I can't say enough good things about Dr. Kao. He genuinely cares for his patients and spends as much time as needed with them during their appointments

Reviewed on Dec 21, 2022

I am so impressed with Dr Kao. He is so nice, so easy to understand, explained my case so simply and easily. I wish more doctors were like him.

Reviewed on Dec 19, 2022

Dr Kao was excellent!

Reviewed on Dec 19, 2022

Dr. Kao is among the very best physicians from whom I have ever received care.

Reviewed on Dec 12, 2022

Scheduling was fast and easy! Dr Kao was awesome and informative

Reviewed on Dec 5, 2022

Dr Kao explained to me and my wife what he thinks would help for. We were pleased with what he said we said let's do the surgery on my right hand.

Reviewed on Nov 30, 2022


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