RECONSTRUCTIVE / MICROSURGERY

TYPES OF RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGARY

Skin, tendon, and bone grafts. The surgeon transplants healthy skin, tendon, or bone to a new place in or on the body. The transplanted tissue does not have its own blood supply. This means that new blood vessels must grow.

Local flap surgery. This approach uses nearby body tissue to cover the area affected by cancer surgery. The tissue is not disconnected from the body or blood supply but moved while still attached to the nearby area.

Artificial implants. Sometimes, an artificial implant replaces a damaged body part. Examples include breast, testicular, and penile implants.

Scar revisions. These surgeries help minimize the appearance of scars from an earlier surgery.

RECONSTRUCTIVE / MICROSURGERY FOR TRAUMA AND CANCER

Reconstructive microsurgery is a surgical field where specialized operating microscopes and precision instrumentation are utilized to perform intricate operations on tiny structures. Utilizing magnification up to fifty times that produced by the naked eye and stitches finer than a hair, surgeons are able to repair transected blood vessels and nerves less than 1mm in diameter. The ability to reestablish continuity and blood flow to small, severed nerves and vessels has made a major impact on the potential to restore form and function to individuals impaired by trauma, cancer and congenital differences. Advances in technology and surgical technique in the early 1960s for the first time allowed surgeons to successfully replant severed digits and limbs. Reconstructive microsurgery has witnessed major advancements in the last decade including the emergence of hand and face transplantation. These techniques are providing a new lease on life for severely injured patients whose problems cannot be solved by more traditional techniques. Advanced computing and robotics continue to foster the expansion of more precise and minimally invasive surgeries while the potential to biologically engineer missing tissues and structures (tissue engineering) offer an exciting gateway to the future. A common example of the use of microsurgery is with women who have undergone a mastectomy and prefer or require the use of their own tissue rather than implants for breast reconstruction. Like all of our services, microsurgery is provided within our department’s collaborative and multidisciplinary care structure. We work with colleagues throughout the hospital and in the community to best serve each patient’s individual needs. Our surgical team includes national and international leaders in their fields, who are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. We are affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, which allows access to participation in innovative clinical trials and groundbreaking research. .

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Surgical Innovation

Greater knowledge, improved technology and advanced techniques have helped microsurgery emerge in the last decade as a highly effective, safe and valuable surgical option for a wide range of conditions. Surgeons work to restore anatomical form and function using a patient’s own tissue from other sites on his or her body. The tissue is then transplanted to a location that has lost skin, soft tissue or bone. With the use of operating microscopes, our physicians reattach the very small arteries, veins and nerves of tissue in order to establish blood flow, sensation and function. The application of microsurgical techniques is an important option for breast cancer reconstruction, head and neck reconstruction following cancer or trauma, extremity salvage from traumatic wounds, complex wounds and many other medical conditions. Another innovative application of microsurgery is facial reanimation through the transplantation of functional muscle flaps to correct paralysis, whether congenital or caused by trauma or disease. The microsurgical team includes multiple surgeons as well as a team of nurses and anesthesiologists to provide safe and efficient medical care. Our ability to provide this modern surgical technique to patients in southern New England is critical. Reconstructive surgery is often performed in multiple stages, so having the convenience of this specialty close to home is important for the overall well-being of patients and their families.