Razom Co-Pilot Project’s mission is to address the significant deficit in high-quality neurosurgical, spine, reconstructive, and plastic surgery training in Ukraine by sending skilled surgeons from across the US and Canada to mentor and aid Ukrainian surgeons through difficult cases.
The medical trips include two completed missions and two future missions in spring 2023:
- LEAP Global Missions March 17-26, Lviv, Ukraine: In the first formal LEAP mission of its kind and in partnership with the Ukrainian Christian Medical Association, two skilled doctors led a team of 11 medical professionals to assist with war-related and non war-related surgeries at First Emergency, St. Nicholas, Ohkhmatdyt and the Military Hospital of the Western Region. Their specializations include craniofacial, craniofacial orthodontics, head and neck trauma, head and neck reconstruction, neurosurgery, urology, and dermatology. The team worked across 3 different hospitals, where patients with war injuries were transferred from a neighboring community so the team could help as many as possible. Razom is proud to have contributed to this mission by covering housing, food and medical supply expenses, scrubs through FIGS, and transportation for the doctors who invested their time and knowledge in treating children in Lviv affected by the war.
- Face the Future, March 24 – April 2, 2023, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine: Razom, Face the Future Foundation (Canada), and the Ukrainian Association of Endoscopic Head and Neck Surgery brought together a team of 13 American and Canadian doctors and nurses, who joined 17 Ukrainian team members to treat victims of war. Supported by Healing the Children Northeast, they met weekly for three months to pre-plan surgical treatments for each patient. These meetings also included Ukrainian specialists from Materialise, who created customized 3D-printed implants for patients. 100 soldiers and civilians with war injuries were assessed, with 30 selected for reconstructive facial surgery, and a total of 112 procedures were performed. Face the Future also held an International Symposium on War Injuries attended by 130 Ukrainian surgeons, a Nursing Academic Day for 70 nurses, and live-streamed surgeries for 590 Ukrainian doctors. Currently, Still Strong, a Ukrainian surgeon-run patient management database working with the mission, has accepted 347 patients requiring complex reconstruction to regain facial functions, improve patients’ appearance and decrease their PTSD. Future missions this year and next are currently being planned to address these tragedies of war and build Ukrainian health care capacity for complex facial reconstruction.
- FACE TO FACE, April 21-30, Lviv, Ukraine: FACE TO FACE is the humanitarian arm of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). This project was created in cooperation with AAFPRS, Razom, the medical NGO INgenius, and Healing the Children Northeast to help wounded victims of the war in Ukraine. A team of 9 facial plastic surgeons and 8 nurses will perform reconstructive and plastic surgeries of the head and neck area at the Lviv Military Hospital in Ukraine, the largest medical military center in the western part of Ukraine, which admits a record number of wounded soldiers daily. The doctors will perform 30 surgeries with high levels of complexity, as the majority of the patients have severe facial defects that require sophisticated surgeries, including microvascular reconstruction. One of the planned surgeries is considered to be one of the most unique facial microvascular reconstruction cases, using bones from the legs and arms, which takes about 15 hours. This kind of surgery helps not only to restore the face, but also restore the ability to eat and speak. As part of the mission, the complex reconstructions of the facial skeleton will be carried out using personalized printed titanium 3D implants from Materialise. This type of surgery is not part of the typical Ukrainian surgical training, leaving the majority of patients without appropriate treatment. As such, this mission will encompass an educational component. The team will perform complex microvascular reconstructive surgeries that help patients, while also training local surgeons so they can perform similar surgeries in the future by broadcasting the surgeries live. Around 200 Ukrainian doctors, including otolaryngologists, maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists, plastic and general surgeons, have already registered for the broadcast, where US and Ukrainian specialists will walk through every step of the surgery. The FACE TO FACE team will also be awarded by Lviv Regional State Administration for their work. The first FACE TO FACE mission of plastic and reconstructive surgeons took place on September 16-22. During the mission, 34 consultations and 31 operative interventions were conducted at the base of the Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Clinical Hospital. For more information: https://www.razomforukraine.org/razom-face-to-face/
- Neurosurgeons for Ukraine, April 27 – May 7, Lviv Ukraine: A group of neurosurgeons, their assistants and medical students will travel from the US to Lviv, Ukraine to assist in and train Ukrainian surgeons in performing complex cranial surgeries. This interdisciplinary team will consist of a pediatric neurosurgeon, a neurointerventional radiologist, a skull-base neurosurgeon, and a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon with expertise in neurotrauma and neurocritical care. The group will also bring valuable neurosurgical equipment to expand the neurosurgical operative capabilities in Ukraine. The team will collaborate with their Ukrainian colleagues to operate on a diverse mix of patients, including adults and children, as well as those with a variety of complex tumors and cerebrovascular malformations. Patients will be evaluated in a clinic and operated on at the Lviv Territorial Medical Union Multidisciplinary Clinical Hospital of Emergency and Intensive Care. In addition to the valuable time spent teaching complex operative techniques to Ukrainian surgeons in the operating room, the US-based team will host a number of conferences and didactic sessions aimed at educating surgeons and surgical trainees in Ukraine.
“Razom is grateful to the doctors, our partners, including hospitals in Ukraine, and everyone who has made these trips possible,” said Mariya Soroka, Razom Co-Founder and Co-Pilot Project Co-Lead. “The importance of medical trips to Ukraine is critical to boosting the Ukrainian health care system, implementing new medical technologies, educating doctors, and of course saving thousands of lives and improving the quality of life for countless others.”