Plastic surgeon shares cutting edge skills
A BRISTOL plastic surgeon has flown out to Pakistan to share his expertise with colleagues in the country.
Frenchay Hospital consultant Umraz Khan, who is an expert in the reconstruction of badly-injured limbs, was today travelling to Lahore for ten days to show plastic surgeons how to carry out some of the techniques he uses on patients in Bristol as well as to carry out operations himself.
Mr Khan has been supporting surgeons in the region since 2005 when he went out to the country following the Kashmir earthquake.
He originally went out to help victims of the disaster with the charity Islamic Help but has returned since to train surgeons at Jinnah Hospital in Lahore, where he is also a visiting professor.
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"In the earthquake there were thousands upon thousands of victims," Mr Khan said.
"They either died under fallen debris or if they survived one of their extremities was crushed. A lot of these patients got open fractures.
"I went out with a group from the charity in 2005 to set up a service to help local surgeons cope with the volume."
Mr Khan said that during the trip it became apparent that there were patients who in the UK would have had surgery but the techniques were not available to them in Pakistan.
"There were patients who were deemed inoperable by them and they could not offer the service," he said.
A centre was built in Lahore specifically for reconstruction and rebuilding surgery in burns patients and those who had suffered trauma in farming, factory or other accidents and ever since Mr Khan has been returning annually to help surgical teams.
"I do lectures, clinics and operative cases there," he said.
"We also try to empower local surgeons, teaching them that they can do this surgery.
"It is not necessarily high-tech but is very skilled and they need to be conversant with very detailed anatomical dissection, how to position the patient and how to work.
"Every year we follow up the patients we operated on the previous year to make sure everything is working well in the patients and they have got a more fulfilled quality of life.
"Every year I try to bring a different theme to the meetings. Last year we had someone who had amputated their fingers and transplanted toes to use for fingers and we are hoping to do muscle transfer this year.
He said there was just a fifth as many plastic surgeons in Pakistan as in the UK.
The operations tend to take four to six hours to carry out and while Mr Khan is in Lahore he expects to carry out ten procedures.
"If we can ensure all ten are a success the surgeons can then go back to other hospitals and will hopefully undertake these procedures during the next 12 months," he said.
"Every single person we have operated on would have had a very bad quality of life if we didn't undertake reconstruction for them."