The characteristics of hand trauma are changing due to automation of industrial facilities, improved access to health care, and the aging population. Since the inception of hand surgery as a subspecialty, hand defects have been reconstructed with the restoration of the original functionality as the primary goal. With advancement and maturation of surgical techniques, however, restoration of aesthetics also began to take hold as an important aspect of hand surgery practice. After the first successful replantation of an amputated digit, the rapid development of microsurgical techniques had a significant impact on the field of reconstructive hand surgery. In the first two decades, the success of replantation was evaluated by the survival rate for a single operator or a specialized institution. These days, however, microsurgical techniques have been widely adopted, with digital replantation possible even for infants. In addition to various local flaps, the evolution of free flaps has vastly expanded the repertoire of reconstructive options for hand surgeons. With the wide variety of free flaps available, it is possible for a severely injured hand to be salvaged and restored to its original functional and aesthetic status. In South Korea, hand surgery is becoming an established profession with a separate subspecialty certification. Hand surgery has a bright outlook, with future research directed at new biocompatible materials and novel reconstructive methods.