This week, Australian surgeon Professor Munjed Al Muderis and a team of orthopedic and reconstructive surgeons including Dr. Karolina Siwicka, A/Professor Kevin Tetsworth, and Dr. Wojciech Piwek, are returning to the St Panteleimon Hospital in Lviv (the biggest Municipal Hospital in Ukraine) to tighten the relationship they have established following a first mission in December 2022.
With the local orthopaedic team, the hospital administration, and the support of the Mayor of Lviv and the Polish Medical Mission charity, they plan to perform limb reconstructive surgeries and osseointegration, teach limb reconstruction and osseointegration, and lecture at the first “UNBROKEN” Conference.
It is estimated that the brutal Russian invasion has resulted in about 20,000 amputees. In addition, people have been wounded and need reconstructive and salvage procedures to preserve their limbs and function. The victims of the Russian invasion are not only soldiers injured in the field but civilians injured in blast injuries near their homes.
Commenting on the mission, Dr. Siwicka said: “We have experience in a number of key areas: working in low resources facilities, treating victims of military conflicts, carrying out limb reconstruction procedures and as the most experienced osseointegration team our mission is to share that with Ukrainian surgeons and assist in the treatment of injured Ukrainian patients”.
Osseointegration involves inserting a prosthetic implant into the residual bone of an amputee to which an external prosthesis can attach directly. This removes the need for a traditional socket-mounted prosthesis and enhances the mobility and quality of life of amputees. Prof. Munjed Al Muderis is the leader in the field of osseointegration surgery, and has improved the implant design, modified the surgical technique, and improved the rehabilitation protocols to suit the wider population of amputees, regardless of their location around the world and local resources, making this technology accessible to people who need it the most in war-torn patients.
Explaining how the mission will unfold Prof. Al Muderis said: “We have established a teaching plan that includes lectures in several major topics on trauma management, limb reconstruction and osseointegration. This is aimed at orthopaedic surgeons from a number of hospitals in Lviv and Ukraine. We have invited very experienced surgeons from all over the world to join us on this and future trips, to share their knowledge, expertise, and surgical skills.”
The team will also take part in the first UNBROKEN conference, through a series of lectures for multidisciplinary medical teams involved in the complex care of war victims. Based in Lviv, UNBROKEN is an initiative of the First Medical Association of Lviv providing qualified medical help to thousands of Ukrainians affected by the hostilities. Treatment of the war-affected Ukrainians takes place within the framework of the UNBROKEN National Rehabilitation Centre, a unique place where adults and children affected by the war can receive comprehensive qualified medical care.
The overall aim is to establish a long-term relationship, to return to Ukraine on regular surgical missions every 3-4 months and provide teaching on increasingly complex concepts, and to finally train, over a couple of years, independent Limb Reconstruction surgeons.