Microvascular reconstructive Surgery

Defects of the face, neck, and mouth are often created when removing tumors or as the result of a severe facial injury. Proper reconstruction is vital to allow patients to maintain the highest quality of life and self-esteem.

Dr. Shirley is one of only a handful of oral & maxillofacial surgeons in the country capable of performing microvascular reconstructive surgery. Microvascular reconstructive surgery is one of the most advanced options in restoring facial form and function following the removal of facial and oral tumors.

Tissues from the patient’s own body are transplanted into the facial defects to restore function and appearance. These transplants (known as “flaps”) can be in the form of skin, muscle, bone, or any combination. The flap is removed from the body along with blood vessels that supply nourishment to the flap. The blood vessels are reconnected to vessels around the facial defect under a microscope using sutures smaller than a human hair.

Once blood flow is re-established, the transplanted tissue remains alive just as it did in its original location. Because the flap is completely freed from another part of the body, this technique is often referred to as “free flap surgery” or “free tissue transfer.” This technique has a 95% success rate, which is very favorable compared to other techniques. Please keep in mind that many cases are more appropriately reconstructed with alternative procedures.

Dr. Shirley takes special interest in shortening a patients reconstructive time frame. In the past reconstruction would be performed over years through multiple surgeries. With new technology and skills that Dr. Shirley possesses patients can undergo removal of their pathology and immediate reconstruction of their jaws and teeth in one surgery. Using 3d imaging and planning the surgery can be planned prior to the day of the procedure. This provides for more efficient surgery times and precise reconstruction. Dr. Shirley has been able to provide these services to patients suffering from war injuries to patients with newly diagnosed oral cancer with excellent success and results.