The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM) was established in 1984 and has served "to promote, encourage, foster, and advance the art and science of microsurgery and complex reconstruction”. It is a forum for teaching, research and free discussion of reconstructive microsurgical methods and principles in an environment that promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion among the members. Today the society is comprised of more than 1,100 members from sixteen countries and continues to evolve and grow providing a major engine for microsurgical advancement.
The society was born from the initial desire to nurture the emerging field of digit and limb replantation. Over the past two and a half decades members of the ASRM with their tireless work and innovation have helped transform this initial desire into an entirely new area of medicine (reconstructive microsurgery).
Since its inception the field of microsurgery has grown rapidly with major advances in instrumentation, suture fabrication, microscope technology and enhanced understanding of vascular anatomy, coagulation, nerve regeneration, bone biology and transplantation immunology.
The advent of free tissue transfer (free flap) has enabled surgeons to borrow tissues from areas of relative excess and re-establish its circulation with microsurgical connections at a distant location. The revascularized tissue can then be utilized to restore missing form and function. Free flaps have provided a powerful tool for breast reconstruction and restoration of the jaw, tongue and esophagus after removal of head and neck cancers. Free tissue transfers have also proved invaluable in the treatment of traumatic injuries and open fractures of the extremities and hand. Combined with vascularized toe transfers free flap surgery has revolutionized the management of many congenital hand deformities. Members of the ASRM have been pioneers in the area of microneurosurgery developing techniques for nerve repair, grafting and transfer that have significantly improved our ability to restore motion and sensation after nerve injury. Nerve repair techniques have also been successfully utilized to power free muscle flaps providing an opportunity to restore motion to individuals with facial paralysis and brachial plexus injuries.
Recent developments in immunology have opened the door for composite tissue allotransplantation (CTA) and ASRM members have been principle movers in the emerging fields of hand and face transplantation. Advanced computing and robotics continue to foster the expansion of more precise and minimally invasive techniques while the potential to biologically engineer missing tissues and structures (tissue engineering) offer an exciting gateway to the future.
The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, proud past, bright future and a tireless commitment to advancing the art and science of microsurgery and complex reconstruction.