The Miracles of Microsurgery
The concept of microsurgery is fairly new in the history of surgery. Microsurgery is a technique that allows the surgeon to repair one millimeter blood vessels and nerves using an operating room microscope and suture finer than the human hair. In the mid-1960s, Gregory Buncke’s father, Harry Buncke, M.D., recognized that, with the right tools, technique and equipment, he could replant amputated fingers, make a thumb from the big toe or reconstruct post traumatic or large defects. However, those tools and techniques did not exist at that time. Starting nearly from scratch, Buncke began designing and creating microsurgical instruments and microsurgical suture. Most of his early work was done at his home in San Francisco. He created a research surgical suite in his garage, performing rabbit ear replantation and toe to thumb transplants in the Rhesus monkey. Buncke was eventually given the title, “father of microsurgery,” for his commitment to educating thousands of surgeons.
Greg Buncke has continued in his father's footsteps, advancing microsurgery both in training and innovation. His group has pushed the envelope in reconstruction of the mutilated hand, for example, restoring all fingers and thumbs with toe transplantation. Breast reconstruction after mastectomy can now preformed using only abdominal or thigh tissue, without the need for an implant. Facial reconstruction can happen as a one-stage operation immediately after cancer resection. Transgender males can undergo phalloplasty microsurgically and can obtain an erection, urinate and have sexual sensation. Limbs that were once amputated after trauma can be salvaged and restored to nearly normal function. Peripheral nerve injuries with large gaps can be microsurgically reconstructed with allografts, avoiding the need for sacrificing nerves from other parts of the body. The future of reconstructive microsurgery is wide open. New reconstructive indications are being created on a daily basis. Join us, and come learn more about these exciting advances.
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MLF: Health & Medicine