In 1957, Dr. Harry J. Buncke was inspired by Mr. Thomas Gibson to develop techniques for transplanting blocks of tissue on small vessels of 1 mm. Seven years later in March of 1964, he reported the first successful rabbit ear replantation to the Plastic Surgical Research Council meeting.
Special micro instruments, sutures and hand-made needles were created to perform these procedures. Dr. Buncke helped to develop microsurgical laboratories at the University of California-San Francisco, Stanford University, Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Davies Medical Center and the Hospital Jeanne d'Arc in Nancy, France.
In 1969, at Oak Knoll, Doctor Donald McLean and Dr. Buncke performed the first successful microvascular transplant using the omentum to fill a large skull defect. He also helped do the first microvascular transplants at Davies Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California-San Francisco, University of California-Irvine, Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, N.Y.U., Puerto Alegre, Brazil, and the Royal Medical Center in Amman, Jordan.
The Davies Medical Center Microsurgery Lab and Replantation Service unit began in 1970. We performed the first human toe-to-hand transplant, scalp replant, serratus-combined-latissimus microvascular transplant, four-digit replant and multiple microvascular simultaneous transplant in the United States. Eighty clinical and thirty-seven research fellows and forty-seven residents have trained here. Twenty-seven have subsequently become department chairmen or co-chairmen. Over 330 articles, books, chapters have been published from our service.