Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Functional Muscle Transfer

Functional muscle transfer involves the microsurgical transplantation of muscles from one area of the body to another to restore function. This may be necessary following removal of deep tumours or due to severe infections or trauma. It is one of a number of potential options to help improve peoples function.

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What is Functional Muscle Transfer Surgery?

Our surgeons are experts at transferring tissues around the body. When muscle is transferred, it is removed with its blood vessels and its nerve to the site where the function needs to be replaced. The muscle is then inserted into the new region, reattached to the circulation as a muscle flap. The function of the muscle can be restored through repair of its nerve microsurgically and the muscle can tensioned to allow it to function after nerve regeneration.

The transferred muscle will be more effective in its function if the joints in the region are supple. Physiotherapy and/or Hand therapy may be needed to improve joint flexibility prior to surgery and will help with keeping the joints supple while the muscle and nerve are healing following completion of the surgery.


Recovery and Rehabilitation

Post-operative care

Our surgical team will provide post-operative care instructions. This will include routine check-ups and information on how to care for the site at home.

You will be told:

  • what medications you can take
  • how to look after the surgical site
  • what signs to watch out for in case of infection
  • when you need to make another appointment with your surgeon.

After surgery it’s important to rest and you may need to take some time off work to recover.


Notify the RPS team immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • fever/high temperature – 38°C or higher
  • shortness of breath
  • leakage of blood or fluid after day one of recovery
  • increasing pain around the site
  • increasing redness around incision site
  • heavy bleeding from incision site.
More information

What else you should know

Will I regain original muscle strength after surgery?
You may not regain your original strength, however over time, with the right recovery and rehabilitation, function can be improved.
How will RPSmanage my post-operative care?

The RPS team will give you specific advice regarding your individual post-operative recovery. They will advise:

  • where you will go after your surgery
  • what medication you will be given or prescribed
  • what bandages and dressings you will need and when they’ll be removed
  • if you require stitches, when they’ll be removed
  • when you can get back to normal activity and exercise
  • when to book your follow-up care.
Our Canberra specialists

The team at RPS Canberra are committed to providing you with the best possible outcome.

The extensive specialist skills of our surgical team ensure that you are provided with surgical options designed to maximise form and function.

Our surgeons hold an impressive array of academic credentials, extensive professional experience and a personal commitment to patient satisfaction.