How Canadian Plastic Surgeons Help Victims of the Ukraine Conflict

Most people associate plastic surgery with eyebrow lifts, Botox, liposuction, ant tummy tucks; these are all elective procedures within the purview of cosmetic surgery, which not all plastic surgeons practice in Canada.

In March 2017, a CBC report explained the humanitarian efforts conducted by Canadian plastic surgeons seeking to improve the lives of Ukrainian war veterans. A group of 20 reconstructive surgery specialists, anesthesiologists and nurses traveled to Kiev, capital city of the Ukrainian Republic, to provide medical care to soldiers and civilians who have been injured in the ongoing armed conflict against separatist forces supported by Russia.

The CBC report specifically touched on a patient named Evgen Redka, a former soldier whose face was terribly scarred after his vehicle drove across an improvised minefield. Redka underwent reconstructive surgery that will help him live his life with a greater degree of normalcy.

Plastic Surgery in Canada

There are various types of plastic surgeries, and only a few dozen belong to the field of cosmetic surgery. The kind of procedures performed by the humanitarian volunteers in Ukraine fall under reconstructive surgery, which is highly specialized medical field.

The Canadian Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is a professional body that represents the interests of physicians dedicated to improving the lives of patients through aesthetic and physiological procedures. Some of the sub-specialties in this field include head and neck surgeons as well as otorhinolaryngologists.

Surgeons practicing reconstructive surgery in Canada enjoy a certain prestige due to the complexity of their chosen field. Whereas in Mexico and the United States the focus of plastic surgery is mostly aesthetic, Canadian surgeons are known for their expertise in reconstructing organs so that their physiological function can be restored.

Canadian Medical Missions in Ukraine

The leader of the Canadian missions benefiting the good people of Ukraine is Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn from the University of Toronto. Dr. Antonyshyn is a renowned craniofacial specialist who teaches plastic surgery and is coordinating the humanitarian efforts, which in the near future will also feature a learning partnership between the two nations.

The Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League are contributing towards the effort with monetary donations. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky has also donated and is helping spread awareness about these medical missions.

Dr. Antonyshyn hopes that military medical officers from the United States will also participate in future missions. Thus far, a few American officers who practice medicine in Germany have been on hand as observers.

In many cases, plastic surgeons are able to greatly improve quality of life for their patients. In Ukraine, for example, they have reconstructed hands so that war veterans can get jobs that require manual dexterity.

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