Microsurgery and Replantation

Microsurgery is a general term used for surgery of sufficiently small structures to require the use of an operating microscope. In plastic surgery, this involves the repair of microscopic structures including nerves and blood vessels. This approach is used when such structures have been injured, when performing replantation of limbs and portions of limbs that have been traumatically amputated, and when performing ‘free tissue transfer’ for reconstructive purposes.

Dr. Robinson has a special interest in the microsurgical technique of ‘Free’ or ‘autologous’ tissue transfer. A region of “donor” tissue is selected that can be isolated on a feeding artery and vein; this tissue is usually a composite of several tissue types (e.g., skin, fascia, muscle, fat, bone). The procedure was first done in the early 1970s and has become a popular “one-stage” (single operation) procedure for many surgical reconstructive applications. Scenarios in which Dr. Robinson performs this technique are:

  • Breast cancer surgery
  • Head and neck cancer surgery
  • Sarcoma surgery
  • Traumatic injury
  • Burn reconstruction
  • Congenital defects
  • Facial reanimation
  • Lymphedema management
  • Impaired and prolonged wound healing

Dr. Robinson’s training both during her residency at the University of Western Ontario and her fellowship and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, as well as extensive operative experience in this field have contributed to her expertise on this topic both in British Columbia and in Canada.

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