Friday, March 29, 2013

Pl(e)astic Surgery . . .

Since last Monday, we've been having quite a lot of surgeries going on as Dr. Nandamani is here. And with Dr. Ron Hiles also being with us, we had lot of people coming down for plastic surgeries

In addition to the routine contractures following burns or accidents, another group of patients were those with small areas of discolouration of skin or small scars who wanted a change for the normal. Quite interesting, since our area is quite an impoverished area with almost a majority of population with hardly any proper access for basic healthcare

Couple of the cases. There was a young man with a small scar in the face. He was of the opinion that he was not getting good marriage proposals because of the scar. I thought that the scar gave him quite a macho look. 

There was another young man who had a scar below his lip which he thought was spoiling his looks. He started to quote surgeries and procedures done on some Bollywood stars which helped them look better . . . and how they got a break into doing some special films . . . etc. etc.

There were 3 cases of tattoos where the patient realised that the choice of the tattoo was not a great one . . . and the patients wished that they had not done it. I found out that one of the best ways to remove a tattoo was to rub salt on it and put a dressing over it after the skin had become raw. 

Then, there were cases like that was a young boy who had a very bad keloid after a burns. The problem was that there could be a recurrence even after we took off the keloid. But the father was pleading for skin like that of a new born baby. 

As we saw these patients, we got talking into how there were such wrong notions about what plastic surgery could do . . . and how much films and the media has fostered it. Another aspect was how much people hated the way they are and wished that they look like the demigods and demigoddesses they saw on screen. 

I'm amazed how much there is an emphasis on looking perfect in the societies that we live in, rather than a preference for lives that are beneficial to mankind. And of course, there is quite a world out there who earns a living by doing exactly the same. 

On the whole, I'm however amazed at the ability of surgery to bring back quite a lot of functionality in the lives of quite a lot of our patients who had been suffering mainly because of contractures caused by accidents especially burns. The contractures are caused because of neglect of the injuries. And which is what exactly we plan to prevent by having the burns unit at NJH. 

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