For Patients: Microsurgery & Reconstructive Surgery
Microsurgery is surgery performed under the magnification of a microscope. The blood vessels and nerves that supply fingers and small body parts like ears, scalps and noses are so small that the help of a microscope is necessary to place sutures in the walls of the blood vessels and nerve coverings. Connections for blood vessels and nerves can then be made to establish/re-establish blood flow and nerve transmission.
Microsurgery makes it possible to reattach fingers, toes, hands, scalps, tongues and other small body parts, and the performance of free tissue transplants and nerve repairs.
A free-tissue transplant often includes skin and fatty tissue, bone, muscle and nerves. The image on the right shows a toe that has been transplanted to "replace" a thumb lost in a conveyor belt injury.
Our Microsurgery Recovery Guide
provides information regarding your surgery and postoperative recovery.
Read from California Pacific Research Currents 1999 on Pioneering Microsurgery: Offering Hope to Trauma Victims by Harry J. Buncke, M.D. and Gregory M. Buncke, M.D.
Replantation or reattachment of extremities or body parts
Replantation surgeries are an emergency procedure. The immediate survival of the part depends on the reattachment of the blood vessels. But since the ultimate goal of replantation is to restore function to the digit, the repair of bone, nerves, tendons, and soft tissue is also crucial. Depending on the degree of initial damage to the digit, some patients may require follow-up reconstructive work.
Digit Reconstruction & Toe to Thumb Transplant SurgeryEarly milestones in the history of Microsurgery were the successful replantation of amputated digits and transplantation of the great toe to the hand, for thumb reconstruction. Today, hundreds of toe-to-thumb surgeries have been performed at California Pacific Medical Center, and both the big toe and second toe transplants are used to reconstruct thumbs.
Free Flaps or Free Tissue Transplants
Generally, we schedule free-tissue transplants (free flaps) as elective reconstructive surgery. Muscle transplants, for example, can be used to cover a defect caused by an accident, burn, or disease. This procedure may have cosmetic value only or be designed to restore function as well.
Read: Success Stories