Microsurgery is an intricate technique that uses very fine instruments, high-magnification microscopes, and other specialized tools to meticulously disconnect tissue (including nerves, blood, and lymphatic vessels) from one area of the body and re-adhere it somewhere else on the body. Taking nerves or blood vessels that can be a millimeter or less in size, the procedure can take hours, depending on the goal. 

Though it falls into the plastic surgery realm, only a few surgeons are trained in microsurgery and those who do typically work with orthopedic surgeons, head and neck surgeons, and other specialists as well. Whether the area of the body that needs reconstruction is damaged by trauma or disease, microsurgery can allow patients to receive donor tissue from other people successfully. 

Now used in multiple areas of surgery, microsurgery has been around for decades, yet now it can provide patients with better outcomes. 

Microsurgical techniques are used explicitly in hand surgery to reattach amputated fingers or thumbs. When the severed digit is retrieved and appropriately preserved, the odds of a successful surgery are higher. Once the missing structures are identified in the operating room, all the bones, ligaments, and tendons adhere together with microsurgery. 

Since each artery in a finger is a millimeter or less in diameter, reattaching a finger and restoring blood flow is delicate work. 

Plastic surgeon David Colen, MD, said, “Before microsurgery was available to us, amputation was our only option. Now we routinely repair fingers, with arteries that are a fraction of a millimeter in diameter.”

The hand and upper extremities often require microsurgery, as the general lack of skin requires free tissue transfer to cover nerves, tendons, and bone. When the tiny bones of the hand or wrist are damaged, vascularized bone (that has blood flow) can be transferred from the side of the knee. 

Dr. Colen said, “We can take a piece of bone from another part of the body, with blood vessels going into and out of that bone and connect it to blood vessels in the hand or wherever it’s needed. That bone has now been transplanted. It has its own blood supply, and it will heal like a normal bone.” 

Michigan Hand & Wrist was founded in 2001 with the mission to provide the highest-quality care for patients seeking surgical or non-surgical hand or upper extremity relief. Our goal is to exhaust all non-operative measures before discussing or moving on to surgical interventions. We offer on-site physical therapy from therapists committed to improving your quality of life. Our individualized treatments are modern, progressive, and exceptional. Call us at 248-596-0412 for further questions. Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/