Myself along with a team travel to India to provide surgical facial, head, and neck reconstructive services for underserved populations in India. We travel to each of these cities and work in conjunction with local surgeons and staff as well as our own American team to screen patients and provide surgical care. Our focus is cleft lip and palate and other congenital anomalies. We also treat traumatic deformities, burns of the head/neck, infection sequelae, and other growths/tumors of head/neck region.
We serve an underserved population without access to the healthcare system. The would otherwise go either without surgical care or have significant delays in care, as there are very limited resources for charity work locally.
While there is certainly impact from the surgical services and care provided directly to the patients and their families, there is also added benefit in working with local providers. Appearance is important in Indian culture, matching for marriage, and social acceptance. We work with local surgeons, residents, medical students, and staff at these locations. We also provide training of technique; we are integrating lectures to trainees for this upcoming trip.
Our team was composed of multiple providers from various areas of the country; Springfield, IL, Houston, TX, New Orleans, LA. We traveled to Indore in Madhya Pradesh as our first site. We screened hundreds of patients (and families) on our first day. Once we had selected and cleared patients, we began operating our next 4 days. The focus of our trip was on cleft lip and palate and other pediatric facial conditions, both malformations and deformations. Other conditions included hemangioma, congenital nevi, Tessier orofacial clefts, infection sequelae, and facial burns. Our team worked with local surgeons, who provide post op follow up care for the patients treated during the trip. The patient population were underserved, without the means to access care. Many were from surrounding tribal areas and traveled a significant distance for the surgical camp. This was our 3rd trip to this region, with plans to return annually.