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What is Reconstructive Microsurgery?

Reconstructive microsurgery is a special type of surgery that combines magnification with an advanced microscope, specialized precision tools, and various operating techniques for the surgical treatment of complicated injuries involving the muscles, tendons, blood vessels, nerves, skin, and bones. 

Reconstructive microsurgery allows the surgeon to utilize the injured person’s own tissue or bone to cover a wound, reconstruct an arm or a leg, or restore lost function. The crucial part of this technically complex procedure is the careful microscopic reattachment of the minuscule blood vessels to the tissues being transplanted so that they continue to live and function in their new location.

Reconstructive microsurgery as a field has been deemed crucial for restoring limb function by repairing tiny, delicate vessels and nerves, bones, and soft-tissue of both the upper and lower extremities, which otherwise is not possible with traditional methods of surgery.

What are the Indications for Reconstructive Microsurgery?

Reconstructive microsurgery may be indicated for several reasons, such as when a wound is too large to be surgically closed, or when many different kinds of tissue, such as muscle and skin or muscle and bone, are required. Reconstructive microsurgery can be crucial in saving a person’s arm or a leg from amputation, and also in restoring function to a damaged arm or leg. Some of the other indications for reconstructive microsurgery include:

  • Surgery to remove cancerous tumors
  • Severe infections
  • Severe traumatic injuries

What Happens During Reconstructive Microsurgery?

During reconstructive microsurgery of the upper and lower extremities, specialized operating microscopes and precision instrumentation are utilized to perform intricate operations on minuscule structures. By using magnification up to 50 times than is produced by the naked eye, and sutures finer than a hair, surgeons can repair transected nerves and blood vessels less than 1mm in diameter and restore their function.

Outcomes and Recovery

The main objectives of reconstructive microsurgery include:

  • Restoring limb function
  • Limb preservation

For the arm, this involves preserving the motion, strength, and ability to position the hand appropriately, and for the leg, this involves preserving the ability to bear weight.

Rehabilitation begins after the patient is discharged from the hospital and may include a stay in a nursing facility, rehabilitation facility, or discharge to their own home, depending on the patient’s condition, injury, and the ability of the family to provide required care.

Outline of Reconstructive Microsurgery

Reconstructive microsurgery has witnessed crucial advancements in the last decade including the emergence of hand and face transplantation. These methods are contributing a new lease on life for severely injured individuals whose issues cannot be resolved by more traditional methods.

The capacity to reestablish continuity and blood flow to tiny, severed vessels and nerves has made a great impact on the potential to restore function and form to individuals impaired by severe trauma or injury, cancer, and congenital conditions.

  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • California Orthopaedic Association
  • American Association for Hand Surgery
  • Orange County Medical Association