A Surgery First for Bhutan - Interplast

A Surgery First for Bhutan

An Interplast volunteer surgical team worked alongside local surgeons to perform Bhutan’s first microvascular reconstruction this year, enabling a six-year-old girl to learn how to walk for the first time.

Ugyen was born with a bone defect in her right leg. This condition had left her unable to walk or stand up on both feet.

The Interplast surgical team worked alongside local health professionals at partner hospital, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH).

Interplast volunteer and plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr Tim Proudman, explained that the fibula bone from Ugyen’s left leg was harvested with the blood vessels that supply it and transplanted to the deficient tibial bone of the right leg.

“Those vessels were then connected to the vessels in the right leg meaning the bone is still living and will now heal like a normal bone,” he said.

“The significance of this operation is that once the bone heals she will be able to learn how to walk.”

The five-hour operation also provided hands-on training for local surgical, medical and nursing staff, empowering them to manage complex cases such as Ugyen’s between Interplast visits.

This program and many others delivered across the Asia Pacific by Interplast are supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

Interplast case study
The Interplast microsurgical team (left to right): Nurse, Sarah Stott, and plastic surgeons Dr Tim Proudman and Dr Rob Coren.
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