Microsurgery allows the movement of large amounts of tissue from one part of the body to another. It has revolutionized field of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and gives a skilled microsurgeon a much wider range of options than ever before possible.
Specifically, microsurgery refers to the careful freeing up of vessels, including both at least one artery and vein, attached to tissue to be moved from one part of the body to the other.
These vessels are then attached under high power magnification to other vessels at the recipient site using very fine instruments and sutures or vessel coupling devices.
These sutures are usually smaller in diameter than the average human hair. The vessels allow the body to provide the blood supply needed by the transferred tissue to heal and integrate into the body at its new location.
This allows a microsurgeon to transfer the abdominal skin and fat needed for a breast reconstruction without sacrificing the abdominal muscle. It also allows the use of tissue from the buttock or other areas which would otherwise not be possible without microsurgical techniques.
Not all plastic surgeons perform microsurgery. Those that do often have had additional, specialized training in these techniques.
Size Comparison: Microsurgical needles and suture next to a human hair and a
ballpoint pen tip as seen through the operating microscope.
In The Operating Room: Surgeons Jay Granzow, MD and Robert Allen, MD seen
joining vessels during perforator flap breast reconstruction using the operating microscope.