Microsurgery is a surgical technique involving a microscope and very small instruments, needles, and thread. Specially-trained surgeons use this technique to work on structures nearly-invisible to the naked eye. First developed in the 1960's, microsurgery allows surgeons to connect tiny arteries, veins, and nerves. This is particularly useful in the repair of small structures, like fingers. It is also important in the successful movement of tissue from one part of the body to another.
Injuries resulting in complete or partial amputation and those damaging important underlying structures, such as small arteries and nerves are best-suited for microsurgical techniques. Certain birth defects also require microsurgery techniques. These include children born with missing fingers and those born with fingers fused together. When a thumb is involved, another finger or toe may need to be moved to allow the child to have opposable digits.
Another frequent use of microsurgery occurs when tissue must be moved from one part of the body to another. This is necessary when traumatic injuries, burns, or tumor resections destroy skin, muscle, and other critical structures.
Function is not always 100% normal. However, through microsurgery techniques and subsequent physical and occupational therapy, near-normal function is possible for many people.