“An unexpected accident endangered one of my legs on the verge of amputation. All the members of my workteam were at a loss, and my family was also full of anxiety. As an emergency case I was rushed to the micro surgery laboratory under the Clinical Institute of the Pyongyang Medical College of Kim Il Sung University. I was in a critical condition, so medical consultations took place several times on the spot of surgical operation. I was in despair thinking I’d be disabled. The following day, however, when I recovered consciousness and touched my leg unawares, I was surprised to feel my injured leg—it was still with me. At that time I was in floods of tears. I had known our public health system is the best one through my experience of trifling cases, but words failed me to express my feelings this time as I had had such a difficult operation. Thanks to the health workers I regained my hope of life.”

This is a note written by Jong Il Sop, 57, who was a tractor driver at the Taedong County Town Cooperative Farm in South Phyongan Province, after receiving treatment in the laboratory recently. There are many similar notes left by the people who had got the treatment there.

The researchers of the laboratory have obtained a lot of remarkable successes in rejoining severed limbs and research into plastic surgery on nerve, blood vessel and tendon since its inauguration scores of years ago.

In Korea there was little foundation in micro surgery in the past. As most treatments were given by the method of amputation, the cases ended up in disability unavoidably. When the researchers saw people come to the laboratory with their severed finger and earnestly asked them to rejoin it, they keenly felt it was just their own affairs, and started the research work, an unknown world, to solve the problem without hesitation.

In order to lay the theoretical foundation for the micro surgery they carried out the perusal of a colossal amount of latest documents while repeating experiments. At last they found out an innovative micro-surgical method. It was a cutting-edge method which restores the wounded part to its original state by reconnecting the blood vessel, lymphatics, nerve and tendon of the severed arm, leg, finger and toe without cutting. Along with this, the researchers succeeded in developing the atraumatic needle for micro operation, the main surgical tool which some countries had monopolized as patent at that time, and established its production system. The atraumatic needles are now widely used in the health establishments in the country.

Recently the researchers applied to the clinical practice those techniques they named Free-acid Bone Grafting with Vasa Nutritia, Free-flap Grafting with Vasa Nutritia, Operation on Wounded Hand, and Operation for Extending Limbs, and performed scores of different kinds of micro plastic surgical operations, most of which were successful.

In January last a man was seriously wounded in his right arm in an accident at work, and was rushed to the laboratory. It was a very difficult operation as the blood vessel, nerve and muscle of his right arm had been completely severed. However, the researchers managed to restore his arm through a devoted, serious effort.

People call them an “able team” and the “men living in the microscopic world.” Now the researchers are pooling their wisdom to raise micro surgery up to an advanced level as early as possible and disseminate their experience throughout the country.