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Microvascular and Reconstructive Face Surgery

A person who has had a trauma or major medical treatment to their face, mouth, or throat may have an altered look. They may also have issues speaking, chewing, and swallowing.

Microvascular reconstructive surgery can fix these issues. Using the person's own tissue, this approach can fix mouth, tongue, jaw, or cheek problems.

The UPMC Eye and Ear Institute team works together to create the most natural look and the best day-to-day function.

To make an appointment, call 412-647-2100, Option 2.

We're one of the few centers in North America to perform more than 150 of these complex surgeries each year.

Using 3D technology, we precisely plan each surgery to reduce operating time and help promote the best outcomes.

What Is Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery?

In microvascular reconstructive surgery, the surgeon:

  • Takes tissue from another part of your body, which may include skin, bone, or muscle.
  • Transplants this tissue, which includes an artery and veins, to the head for reconstruction.
  • Carefully closes the site where the tissue came from.
  • Restores the form and function of the head and neck area with the transplanted tissue.

Because the transplanted tissue is your own, the body doesn't reject it.

What Conditions Do You Treat with Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery?

We use this surgery to treat the following head and neck problems:

  • Cancer of the mouth, nose, throat, sinuses, skin, and jaw.
  • Benign tumors of the mouth, nose, throat, sinuses, skin, and jaw.
  • Trauma to the face.

What Is Reconstructive Surgery After Head and Neck Cancer?

Cancers can destroy healthy tissue.

When a surgeon removes cancer, this can leave a gap or hole where you would normally have healthy tissue.

A reconstructive surgery team can rebuild many tissue types and help restore function.

These include:

  • Skin.
  • Gums.
  • Upper jaw.
  • Throat.
  • Tongue.

Sometimes, tumors spread to the bones of the face. In this case, surgeons also need to remove part of the upper or lower jawbone. The reconstructive surgical team will rebuild the bone.

How Does a Surgeon Do Microvascular Surgery?

In reconstructive surgery, the surgeon uses a person's tissue and, if needed, bone. This surgery often happens right after removing cancer or a benign tumor.

What Types of Microvascular Reconstructive Techniques Do You Offer at UPMC?

Microvascular reconstructive surgery uses many techniques and approaches to get the best result. That includes removing flaps of skin, muscle, and sometimes bone from various parts of the body.

How do I take care of the flap site after I go home?

After your surgery, the nurse will bandage and clean the flap site as you heal in the hospital.

They will teach you how to clean and wrap the flap donor site at home. Following their instructions for caring for the wound is vital.

You may need therapy to ensure optimal arm, hand, shoulder, or leg and foot use. By starting this early and doing all of the suggested exercises, you can greatly increase your chance of a full recovery.

Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery Benefits and Risks

Make an Appointment at the UPMC Eye and Ear Institute

Call 412-647-2100, Option 2, to plan a visit or make an appointment online.

Our address:

203 Lothrop St., Suite 300
Pittsburgh, PA 15213