Pacific surgeons trained in plastic surgery skills - Interplast

Pacific surgeons trained in plastic surgery skills

Interplast volunteer surgeons lead Pacific surgeons through an operation, watched closely by other trainees. Photo: Woodrow Wilson

Interplast continues to pass on plastic surgery skills throughout the Asia Pacific through extensive training programs.

Thanks to the generous support of the Rotary Club of Ryde and the Rotary Club of Apia, in April Interplast delivered a successful surgical skills workshop in Apia, Samoa.

Across all the Pacific Islands there are only a couple of plastic or specialised surgeons, so it is more effective to provide basic plastic surgery skills to general surgeons for use in their regular work.

The 10 surgeons who attended came from countries across the Pacific islands such as Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands. They were joined by three registrars from Samoa.

This was the first time that such a workshop, using live patients, has been delivered in the Pacific islands. Most of those attending were senior surgeons who had previously completed Interplast training in Hobart in 2013 and 2014, and the approach was commended by all involved as a practical and effective way of developing plastic surgical skills in the Pacific Islands.


Over the three days, three “teaching cases” were operated on, and these were complemented by various lectures. These cases were selected by the local surgeons so they could learn specific techniques. The aim was for Pacific surgeons to lead the operations, with the Interplast team providing assistance and supervision.

Dr Kabiri Itaka from Kiribati said: “I had learned a lot from the course and it’s another escalating skill gained which I now need to work on so that we can master the skills we were taught.”

And Dr Akhtar Ali from Fiji said: “It has been invaluable to cover the basics, remembering that suturing is an art form, and that what sometimes appears as unusable tissue may be used in functional improvement for the patient. In Fiji we are often presented with advanced pathology and have to think outside the box for a solution.”

Funding was provided by a Rotary Foundation Vocational Training Team grant, supported by the Rotary clubs of Ryde and Apia. This was the first time that Interplast has partnered with Rotary Foundation for such a grant, and we look forward to utilising this opportunity again in future programs.

Find out more about the important partnership between Rotary and Interplast.

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