Microsurgery is a general term for surgery requiring an operating microscope. The most obvious developments have been procedures developed to allow anastomosis of successively smaller blood vessels and nerves (typically 1 mm in diameter) which have allowed transfer of tissue from one part of the body to another and re-attachment of severed parts.
The advances in the techniques and technology that popularized microsurgery began in the early 1960s. The first microvascular surgery, using a microscope to aid in the repair of blood vessels, was described by vascular surgeon, Jules Jacobson, of the University of Vermont in 1960. Using an otolaryngology microscope, he performed coupling of vessels as small as 1.4 mm and coined the term "microsurgery." Hand surgeons Kleinert and Kasdan performed the first revascularization of a partial digital amputation in 1963.
Nakayama, a Japanese cardiothoracic surgeon, reported the first true series of microsurgical free-tissue transfers using vascularized intestinal segments to the neck for esophageal reconstruction after cancer resections using 3-4mm vessels. 
Contemporary reconstructive microsurgery was introduced by an American, Dr. Harry J. Buncke. In 1964, Buncke reported a rabbit ear replantation, famously using a garage as a lab/operating theatre and home-made instruments. This was the first report of successfully using blood vessels 1 millimeter in size. In 1966, Buncke used microsurgery to transplant a primate's great toe to its hand.
The late sixties and early 1970's ushered in many new microsurgical innovations that were previously unimaginable. The first human microsurgical transplantation of the great toe (big toe) to thumb was performed in April 1968 by Mr. John Cobbett, in England.  In Australia work by Dr. Ian Taylor  saw new techniques developed to reconstruct head and neck cancer defects with living bone from the hip or the fibula.
A number of surgical specialties now use microsurgical techniques. Otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors) perform microsurgery on structures of the inner ear or the vocal cords. Cataract surgery, corneal transplants, and treatment of conditions like glaucoma are performed by ophthalmologists. Urologists and gynecologists can frequently now reverse vasectomies and tubal ligations to restore fertility.
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