LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Repairing bodies, rebuilding lives.
This is the goal of the recent 12th International Surgical Mission of the Interplast of Australia and New Zealand at the Benguet General Hospital which catered to patients of various cases including a pioneering surgical procedure of tissue transplantation on a forehead of a 68–year-old patient.
Led by anesthesiologist Dr. Lindsay McBride, the team was accompanied by an Operating Theatre Specialist, Lilliana Levada, who shared her expertise in operating room management.
A seven centimeter mass believed to be cancerous was excised from the patient’s forehead transplanting tissue from the forearm of the patient within a span of four hours. The procedure is called “microvascular free flap after” which is a "transplantation" of tissue from one site of the body to another in order to reconstruct an existing defect.
The surgical procedure believed to be the first in Baguio and Benguet area entailed a complex procedure called ‘anastomosis’ which connected the blood vessels of the flap to the blood vessels on the neck to ensure the flap would survive.
“It’s almost analogous to a kidney transplant,” said Dr. James Leong, one of the team surgeons.
The surgical mission served 46 patients not only from Benguet but from other provinces in Luzon and as far as Zambales.
Cases ranged from facial deformities such as cleft lip and palate, burn contractures on different areas of the body and other acquired deformities such as syndactylys or fused fingers.
“Rebuilding lives and giving these patients new hope is probably the best gift we can give,” said McBride.
“And coming here and working together with the exemplary staff of Benguet General Hospital has been a wonderful and truly amazing experience,” she added.
Acknowledging the team for their valiant efforts, Governor Crescencio Pacalso, during the closing ceremonies said, “Your coming here, sharing your expertise and helping is a blessing to these patients.” He expressed hope the team will come again next year. (PR)