Cleft, Thyroid, and Burn Missions L’viv and Chervonhrad, Ukraine | April 30- May 7, 2011

Earlier this month, MMFC completed its 12th annual mission to the Ukraine. During the most recent mission, volunteers from MMFC and AMCU (Advanced Medical Care for Ukraine) worked at three different hospitals:  the Regional Specialized Children’s Hospital of L’viv; the Pediatric Burn Hospital of L’viv; and the City Hospital of Chervonohrad.

This year MMFC teams performed a total of 37 surgical procedures, donated needed equipment and supplies and continued to provide hands-on teaching to the Ukrainian surgeons and anesthesiologists.

MMFC Ambassador-at-Large Janette Barber and Board Member and Producer Barry Brown accompanied the team and shot some great footage. Check out the video clips on Janette’s Blog.

When MMFC began sending missions to Ukraine in 1999, the dedicated and talented surgical and anesthesia staff were severely lacking in specialized training, technology, equipment and supplies.  In response, MMFC has donated a number of anesthesia machines and OR monitors. MMFC installed the HINARI medical literature electronic library at both The Regional Specialized Children’s Hospital and the Pediatric Burn Center, and also installed a microvascular lab.  MMFC and AMCU donated a Storz endoscopic intubation system to the Pediatric Burn Center and  medical supplies to the City Hospital of Chervonohrad including an endoscopic surgical tower, surgical texts, anesthesia laryngeal mask airways and endotracheal tubes, Sevoflurane and other general anesthetic medications, facial plastics sutures, alloderm, dermabond and tissue expanders.

Since its first mission 12 years ago, MMFC has screen approximately 1200 children and has performed life-saving surgeries on approximately 500 children. MMFC successfully completed the first free flap tissue transfer procedures ever performed in the Ukraine. Both operations were on burn injury victims with chronic, non-healing wounds. These two patients have both made a full recovery. Other surgeries include: thyroidectomies, thyroid lobectomies, advancement/rotation flaps for repair of burn scar injuries-neck and scalp, full thickness skin graft auricular burn scar, revision of neck burn scar with multiple Z-Plasty, revision facial bum scars with advancement/rotation flap, burn scar reconstruction with tissue expanders, Nissan Fundoplication, and cleft lip repair.

Dr. Igor Stoyanovsky , Janette Barber, Dr. Dennis Snyder and Dr. Vasyl Savchyn

Thanks to the hands-on-training that Dr. Dennis Snyder, Dr. Gary Ruggera, Dr. Val Atanassov and Dr. Roman Dashawetz have provided to their Ukrainian counterparts, most notably Dr. Ostap Mohylyak and Dr. Vasyl Savchyn, the vast majority of the surgical procedures originally only performed in the Ukraine when MMFC teams were present, are now being performed year round solely by Ukrainian surgeons and anesthesiologists. MMFC lead surgeons and anesthesiologists remain available to Dr. Mohylyak and Dr. Savchyn on a year round basis for consultation and support both via telephone and the internet.

The most significant training by far involved teaching their Ukrainian counterparts to use tissue expanders to help treat children with severe burns.  Physicians use tissue expanders to intentionally grow excess skin so that it can be later harvested for transplant to another site where skin was lost or severely scarred due to trauma, extensive wounds, surgery and burns.  The Ukrainian surgeons now routinely use this procedure.

Dr. Snyder and Yuri, 10 years after his first surgery with MMFC now has full range of motion in his neck and upper arms.

During MMFC’s recent mission, Dr. Igor Stoyanovsky remarked to MMFC Ambassador-at-Large Janette Barber that “they have not lost a burn patient since MMFC began coming to work at the hospital 12 years ago.” To all of us at MMFC, there is no greater measure of our success.

To more about MMFC’s recent mission to the Ukraine, listen to Janette Barber’s radio interview of Dr. Dennis Snyder on Sirius’ Rosie Radio. Click here. Rosie Radio – Janette Barber Interviews Dr. Dennis Snyder