Surgical mission (not) impossible--now what?

J Craniofac Surg. 2010 Sep;21(5):1488-92. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e3181edc593.


International surgical missions, particularly those that address patients with clefts of the lip and palate, have become increasingly common. Numerous groups have been organized to provide these services. A plastic surgeon participating in these endeavors should have full knowledge of the details involved not just for himself but to maximize safety and optimize outcomes for these patients. An understanding of the issues surrounding trip preparation, the in-country logistics, proper preoperative patient selection, and intraoperative and postoperative issues are all essential to a successful experience. In this article, the authors review and discuss lessons learned from a combined total of more than 100 international trips. Relevant literature is reviewed, and additional pearls from this body of knowledge are presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cleft Lip / surgery*
  • Cleft Palate / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Medical Missions / organization & administration*
  • Surgery, Plastic / organization & administration*