Sulochana, now 8 years old, was born without a thumb and experienced great difficulty when eating, learning how to write and perform everyday functions. She was teased relentlessly at school and was in tears when she told surgeons about her experiences.
But today she is smiling because, for the first time in her life, she has a thumb! Thanks to Interplast volunteer plastic and reconstructive surgeons and the local medical team in Nepal, Sulochana had a new thumb reconstructed from her index finger. This is the first time this procedure has been performed in Nepal, and it provided vital learning opportunities for local surgeons.
Interplast volunteer surgeon, Mr Damien Grinsell, said Sulochana was delighted with her new thumb and she has been diligently exercising her hand to strengthen her grip. “Sulochana’s case demonstrates the high level of competency the Nepalese surgeons have for learning complex procedures,” he said. “I have enjoyed working alongside local surgical teams in Nepal since 2008 and I have had the privilege of watching them grow in confidence to perform most of the complex cases that present to them when Interplast is not there.”
Damien continues to provide advice to Nepalese surgeons online, sharing photos and advice about advanced techniques. “The cases they see are of injuries or deformities that have been left for so long that they become far more complicated than what we see in Australia,” Damien said. “Together, we hope to increase access to early intervention among Nepalese communities, for better health outcomes.”
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