About the procedure

Microsurgery is a modern technique that is used by plastic surgeons to reconstruct difficult or complex wounds that cannot be closed by other techniques. Microsurgical techniques were developed and refined over the past 50 years, and are now a mainstay among modern plastic surgeons. During a microsurgical procedure, a piece of tissue such as a muscle or skin/fat is disconnected from its natural location and is transferred to a different location on the body, along with its corresponding blood supply. This piece of tissue is called a “flap,” and the part of the body from which it is harvested is called the “donor site” while the part of the body that receives the flap is called the “recipient site.” During the transfer process, the blood vessels that supply the flap are sewn into blood vessels in the recipient site, with the aid of an operative microscope. This is a very precise procedure, and utilizes specialized equipment and suture materials that are much finer than a human hair!

Dr. Hirsch performs a variety of microsurgical procedures for different reasons, including breast reconstruction, extremity reconstruction, and head/neck reconstruction. If you think that you might be a candidate for a microsurgical reconstructive procedure, please make a consultation and discuss with Dr. Hirsch.

Frequently asked questions about microsurgery:

What is the hospital stay like following a microsurgery procedure?

After a microsurgical procedure, you will spend the next 24-48 hours in the intensive care unit. This is important because during the first 24 hours, it is critical to keep a close eye on the flap. If there is a problem with the flap, it is usually a clot within the artery or vein and in 90% of cases, this shows up during the first 24 hours. A clot within the artery or vein is an emergency that needs to go back to the operating room to be repaired, otherwise the flap will not have adequate blood supply or venous drainage and may not survive. During the first 24 hours, you will be given fluids through your IV but won’t be able to eat or drink anything in case you need to return to the operating room. After the first 24 hours, you will be able to go to the regular hospital floor and resume a general diet. The remainder of your stay will depend on the type of procedure that was performed. For patients with breast microsurgical procedures, the hospital stay is usually 4-5 days. For patients with lower extremity microsurgical procedures, the hospital stay can be up to 10-14 days while patients who have head and neck microsurgical procedures typically stay 4-7 days in the hospital.