An interdisciplinary medical team of 19, including four facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons who are members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), will be embarking on a mission trip to Ukraine later this month. This marks the second Face to Face mission trip to Ukraine in the last seven months, following a similar mission in September 2022.
Led by Manoj T. Abraham, MD, FACS, a facial plastic surgeon and senior advisor of the Face to Face committee, the team aims to provide surgical expertise to repair complex facial injuries sustained in the war and train local surgeons in Ukraine to perform these procedures.
The team will be working in Lviv, Ukraine, alongside Ukrainian physicians by official invitation from the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The mission trip is expected to serve approximately 25-30 patients, including soldiers and civilians who have suffered devastating facial injuries due to the ongoing conflict. Many of these patients require complex reconstructive surgery, including microvascular tissue transplants and the use of custom 3D implants to replace missing tissue in the jaw and facial skeleton.
The Face to Face humanitarian programs are conducted under the auspices of the Educational and Research Foundation for the AAFPRS, and the participating physicians and support staff provide their services pro bono. They also self-fund a significant portion of the costs for the expensive medical supplies and equipment needed for the mission.
Collaborating with partners such as Razom, the third largest U.S.-based aid organization sending aid to Ukraine, Ivanka Nebor, MD, founder of InGenius, an organization designed to help train Ukrainian doctors, and Healing the Children Northeast, the mission trip is made possible with critical logistical support and funding.
Abraham, who has extensive experience in crisis relief and has been instrumental in orchestrating medical trips to various international sites, expressed admiration for the resiliency of the Ukrainian people and recognized the increasing need for medical expertise due to the expanding nature of the war.
By training local surgeons in complex reconstructive procedures, the Face to Face team aims to have a meaningful impact and continue educational activities through the AAFPRS and Face to Face.