Photo featuring Ivanna Nebor, MD, Vitaliy Panchenko, MD, Manoj Abraham, MD,
John Frodel, MD, Augustine Moscatello, MD, Gregoriy Mashkevich, MD, Bruce Moskowitz,
MD, Ryan Winters, MD, Boris Chernobilski, MD, Mykola Syniuk, MD, Serhiy Spivak, MD.
In April 2023, a group of American facial reconstructive surgeons visited the largest medical military centre in the western part of Ukraine, which admits enormous numbers of wounded patients every day.
They were there as part of Face to Face, a humanitarian project to help those who have suffered facial trauma as a result of Russia's war against Ukraine. The project was created in cooperation with the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), Razom for Ukraine and the medical NGO INgenius.
Nine doctors and eight nurses from the United States, along with their Ukrainian colleagues, performed free surgeries for a week. Three months in the planning, the seven-day mission included five operative days and two days for sterilisation and packing.
The team received more than 100 applications from throughout Ukraine and selected the 30 most complex cases. Following consultations, 26 patients underwent surgeries. The cases included five free flaps (three fibular free flap, one radial free flap and one anterolateral thigh flap) for reconstruction of mandibular, maxillary and midface defects; 11 personalised titanium 3D implants for facial bones reconstruction; five complex rhinoplasties and one facial nerve reconstruction with graft. There were also five patients from the first mission, which took place in September 2022 when Face to Face performed 31 cases.
One of the main goals of Face to Face , which is sponsored by Healing the Children Foundation and Materialise, is to train Ukrainian surgeons. The majority of the patients have severe defects of the face which require microvascular reconstruction. This type of surgery is not included in Ukrainian surgical training. The team also trains local surgeons so they will be comfortable performing similar cases in the future.
On the first day, there was a workshop on applying vascular anastomoses under a microscope and the basics of scar reconstruction. The three surgical days were broadcast live with moderation and comments on the procedures by American and Ukrainian specialists. More than 500 Ukrainian surgeons were able to participate in live streaming. The Face to Face team was awarded by Lviv Regional State Administration and the mayor of the city for volunteering efforts and helping Ukrainian victims of war.
This project is about reuniting caring people to help others. The next mission is planned for autumn 2023.
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