Microsurgery refers to the use of a microscope and fine instruments to perform very precise, intricate surgery. The advent of microsurgery has enhanced the reconstructive options available to surgeons to treat patients with injuries from trauma, cancer defects, breast cancer reconstruction, or congenital problems. With the microscope's powerful magnification, specialized tools, and stitches thinner than human hair, microsurgery may be used to re-establish blood flow in small blood vessels and repair important nerves. It can have profoundly positive impact on a patient's form and function after a potentially devastating injury or cancer diagnosis.

Microsurgical Procedures

Common uses for microsurgery include replantation of amputated digits or limbs, nerve repair, toe-to-hand transplantation (e.g. transferring a toe to make a new thumb), and "free" flaps. In recent years, it has even been used to perform face and hand transplantations from organ donors.

What is a Free Flap?

A "free" flap is a particular kind of microsurgery that involves borrowing tissue (the "flap") from elsewhere in the body (the "donor site") and transplanting it to a recipient area to reconstruct a defect or hole, usually caused by cancer removal or trauma (e.g. exposed bone in the leg). For a free flap to be viable, microsurgery is required to connect the blood vessels of the flap to the local blood vessels, which reestablishes circulation to the transplanted tissue.

When is Free Flap Microsurgery Used?

Common examples of when free flaps are used include breast cancer reconstruction, lower leg salvage surgery, and head and neck cancer reconstruction. The use of free flaps has allowed plastic surgeons to reconstruct defects which prior to the advent of microsurgery would otherwise be life or limb-threatening.

Am I a Good Candidate for Microsurgery?

Microsurgery may not always be an option for every patient. They are often long, technically challenging procedures. A patient's diagnosis, past medical history, and a surgeon's comfort and expertise may determine if microsurgery is a reconstructive option. For example, microsurgery tends to be less successful and riskier in patients with other major health problems or who smoke.

Contact Us

To learn more about how your child may benefit from microsurgery or to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons, please contact our Surrey office today.

A Message from PSG

As COVID-19 spreads across the country, our patients’ and our staffs’ health and welfare are our primary concern. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus we are implementing changes to reduce person to person contact. We may only be able to see urgent consults and follow ups. This applies to our offices as well as our clinics at the hospital. If appropriate, our staff may contact you to arrange a telephone appointment. As our senior population are at greatest risk, we will endeavour to reduce their exposure by deferring in person appointments unless absolutely necessary. Regrettably, there is a high likelihood your upcoming procedure or surgery may be deferred. If so, we will make every effort to rebook you as soon as the COVID-19 crisis resolves. We are closely following the guidance of the Ministry of Health and the Fraser Health Authority. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

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