What is it about?

Since its emergence in the 1970s, microsurgery has revolutionized plastic surgery. It has enabled the reconstruction of complex injuries and cancers of the head and other parts of the body, as well as reattachment of severed limbs, repair of nerves and recently, face transplants. This paper examines the reasons why microsurgery remains widely unavailable in Africa and how this can be addressed.

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Why is it important?

As of 2016, the entire east, central and southern Africa sub-region had a total of 46 plastic surgeons serving a population of 320 million (equivalent to the entire United States of America population). We found the leading challenge was inadequate perioperative care. Others were lack of surgical expertise, resources and interestingly, public unawareness of the benefits of microsurgery was also noted as a critical hindrance. Enhanced training with a multidisciplinary team-building approach, increased advocacy, and funding were the leading recommendations.


While the challenges related to inadequate resources endemic to all developing countries are well established, this study sought to define which ones are more compelling as well as reveal other obstacles unique to this special region. Plastic surgeons in Africa face unique challenges such as an overwhelming disease burden, staff shortages and resource limitations that very few surgeons abroad can relate to. Because of this, we gathered the perspectives of plastic surgeons working in Africa on the reasons for stagnation of microsurgery in Africa and how they believe this can be improved.

Dr Chihena Hansini Banda
Mie Daigaku

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Challenges in global reconstructive microsurgery: The sub-Saharan african surgeons’ perspective, JPRAS Open, June 2019, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpra.2019.01.009.
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