When we hear the words “plastic surgery” one thing comes to mind – expensive. We believe that only the rich can afford this service. Moreover, plastic surgery is also always associated with cosmetic surgery and that plastic surgeons are friends of the “rich and the famous”. Some may also think that if you want to be a millionaire, be a plastic surgeon.
People don’t realise that there are thousands of plastic surgeons who travel around the world to offer their time and free services to people who can’t afford this service, especially in Third World countries. Victims of violence, soldiers, children who were born with defects such as a cleft lip or palate have been given this free service by loving and generous plastic surgeons.
The history of this charity for plastic and reconstructive service began in the earliest days that plastic surgery has been practiced. During World War 1, modern plastic surgery emerged as many soldiers were badly injured and required reconstructive surgery. It was around this time that a small group of plastic surgeons revolutionised facial reconstruction procedures by way of skin grafting. This led to outstanding results for patients with physical deformities or injuries where both form and functions were restored.
These humanitarian plastic surgeons claim that the most rewarding work they have done are those that they offered for charity missions.
Below is a list of charitable plastic surgery groups that go around the world and connect plastic surgeons with patients who don’t have the resources.
This is an international childrens’ medical charity that provides cleft palate and cleft lip surgeries, as well as postoperative and ongoing medical therapies to children in low and middle-income countries.
For over 30 years, Interplast has worked to provide free reconstructive surgery for patients in the Asia Pacific region who would otherwise not be able to afford access to such services.
Doctors Without Borders
This organisation is well-recognised for its humanitarian effort worldwide, including medical care in war-ravaged countries where reconstructive surgery is badly needed.
Healing The Children
This is a group responsible for arranging the trips of plastic surgeons (who travel at their own expense, including their own surgical instruments) who provide free plastic surgery service.
This is an international organisation that provides free cleft surgery to children in 87 countries.
Face To Face
This program is sponsored by the American Academy of Facial Plastic Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). Face To Face assists surgeons in providing free care for both adults and children who have facial deformities that are either a result of trauma or congenital.