Humanitarian activity is far from being out of reach!
Every day, in the privacy of their medical practice, french doctors are humanitarians. Others go on missions… This is normal and it is simply part of our profession. Interplast-France / Surgery without borders is a French NGO specialising in plastic surgery in developing countries. You can help us :-): tips, contacts, donations: Site d’ Interplast-France / Chirurgie sans Frontières
Why are there humanitarian surgery missions?
-In the first place, because plastic surgery seems to perfectly meet the pathologies encountered in the countries of the third world: congenital malformations of the face or members, integumentary sequelae following tropical diseases or after Burns, tumor diseases, sequelae functional post-traumatic members, etc…
-Secondly, because plastic surgery exists today, as a well individualized speciality. Previously, during the humanitarian missions, surgeons applied the techniques that they knew and surgical missions remained less well defined in their application domain. They remained not less effective but surgical activity was wider. The surgeon operated all patients when he knew the appropriate technique. Naturally, humanitarian missions are specialized as surgery is specialized.
-Thirdly, because this specialty is easy to «export»: surgical instrumentation is simple and easy to carry; surgery of the seed coat is less susceptible to infection quickly achieved; the follow-up of surgical patients is not very complicated and easy to manage; teaching techniques is easier because the surgical gesture is more ‘visible’ and, therefore, more accessible to his understanding.
-In fourth place, because there are teams of volunteers to carry out this kind of missions : nurses, anesthetists and surgeons.
– And finally, because we operate many children in plastic surgery missions. We love children because they embody a certain dream and treating them remains the dream of many doctors. The injured child is unbearable but it seems inevitable in some countries. The dreams of these children would become unaffordable? Restoring the dream to a child without a face, is, perhaps, putting a face on our own dreams. Then to the question why are you going on a mission? We answer that it is just a dream and that most doctors and humanitarian aid volunteers perceive the same satisfaction in discovering the smile of all these children, all these parents, all of these patients…
During our missions, we have developed four concepts :
Plastic surgery in challenging conditions
It is the practice of plastic surgery in a difficult condition. It is characterized by the practice of plastic surgery in developing countries, by a precarious environment for this exercise, by encountered pathologies of a particular type such as Noma and the necessity to be familiar whith many backgrounds of plastic surgery (surgery of the hand, the after-effects of Burns, orthopedic surgery and trauma surgery, maxillofacial surgery, etc…) Read article
Humanitarian Cosmetic surgery
Time is spent, sometimes painfully, by and deep within the body in a state of precarity that no veil can hide. Can we, at least, dare hope that a surgical veil will render more acceptable this mutilated face hardly tolerated by others. And yet the deep and hollow cavity of these wounds offer a tragic depth to the humanity and humility of our perception as if scraping the surface of misery was not enough to reveal how deep our feelings can stetch. It is only when a tropical disease like the Noma, destroys a human being’s face that the full meaning of our gesture becomes acceptable and aesthetically correct? Will our competence and humanity be only remembered as a scar left by our healing gesture? Will cosmetic surgery be doomed to remain hidden like the face of a mortified woman? Can a humanitarian act be aesthetical? Can cosmetic surgery be accepted as humanitarian? Read article
The notion of ethno-surgery is cohabitation between our biomedicine and traditional medicine. It tries to treat the patient in its entirety, with sophisticated technical means while respecting its origins, beliefs, ethnicity and according to local therapeutic traditions. Ethno-surgery not only treats a patient, it tries to “cure” the patient as well. Ethno-surgery is there to transform the body while respecting the environment and that, whatever the place Read article
It offers to associate the notion of aesthetics to the etHics in surgery plastic. Ethics tries to answer a fundamental question: How do the best? For a doctor, the best is to heal his patient. If an intervention “heals” a patient, we can say that this intervention is therapeutic. We bear witness that cosmetic surgery is ethical as it is best that she treats patients. Read abstract