Dr. Patel in Honduras

facial fracture
Dr. Patel repairing a mandible fracture
Dr. Sapna Patel Our UW Facial Plastic Surgery Fellow for 2015-2016
Dr. Sapna Patel Our UW Facial Plastic Surgery Fellow for 2015-2016

Sapna A. Patel MD, our University of Washington facial plastic surgery fellow for this year, just completed a mission trip to Balfate, Honduras on March 12-20, 2016 at the Hospital Loma de Luz in Balfate, Honduras. Here are some of her insights from that trip as well as some personal impressions about her mission. The model of combining education with surgery and commitment to follow-up is one we have embraced over the years.

Dr. Johnson grabbed my attention, “Hey, can you come see this patient with me? The other attending recommended a lip switch flap for reconstruction.” Imagining an elderly man with squamous cell carcinoma of the lip, my breath was taken away as there sat a petite, young blind girl whose face was consumed by a disease that I had only read about in textbooks, xeroderma pigmentosum.

The Honduran sun had transformed her beautiful face into one consumed by malignancy – a fate predestined despite all the medical and surgical care we could provide. “She wants to touch your hands,” said her caretaker. I slowly approached, as her hands reached out to my fingers, tears rolled down my face. During my ten years of medical training, I had never felt so moved by a patient. The intraoral bleeding from her dehisced excision site was treated with a simple bolster and figure of eight stitch, realizing that less is more for Deleny. Deleny’s story was echoed in every patient we saw, and it outlined the reality of healthcare in Honduras. The town of Balfate is served by missionary doctors and families providing for the local population. Together, they put this city on the map and made the Hospital Loma de Luz a tertiary care center for patients in the region. More impressive than the organization and high standards for patient care was the selfless dedication displayed by the physicians and surgeons on the front lines. For most Hondurans, aside from the hospital in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, no real options exist.

During our week-long mission trip, we performed a variety of cases from maxillomandibular fixation, gold weight placement for eyelid paralysis, scar revision from a machete wound, cleft palate repair, total parotidectomy, complex thyroidectomies, and even a rhinophyma excision. Each case we saw and the surgeries that we performed affirmed my confidence and knowledge in facial plastic and head and neck surgery. The challenges we faced humbled me each time; I had never done a parotidectomy without a facial nerve monitor. We may not have had the sharpest instruments or the best dissector, but each case was done without reservation to provide the best care possible. We planned accordingly and brought down our needed instruments, including arch bars, an eyelid gold weight, and a lacrimal set, providing sub-specialized care to a population that didn’t have access to it elsewhere. At the end of the week, we reviewed each patient’s case, and could rest assured knowing that our sister team from the Eastern Virginia Medical School would be able to provide follow-up in the fall, creating a continuity of care unlike most mission trips.

These missions, combining surgery with education and organized for excellent ongoing care, provide a good model for humanitarian assistance from the developed to less developed world. On our last day in Balfate, we visited the Children’s Center, which like many organizations in the community is run by a missionary family. As we walked through, there she was sitting on her chair, so innocent and welcoming. She touched my hands and hair, and tears filled my eyes yet again. Deleny had not had any further bleeding. She led us to her shoes and motioned for us to come outside with her. We sat in the shaded area on the porch, as she crawled in our arms wanting to listen to music; her sense of touch, smell, and hearing remained, while the rest were consumed by the disease. We may not have cured her cancer, but at age six, her smiling face as she listened to music reminded me that sometimes the smallest things have the greatest impact. While we are proud of what we accomplished, we also recognize that our team members benefited so much from the experience and will be bringing those new insights back to our home practices.

Seattle’s Best Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Award-winning physician, considered one of the best in his field in Seattle, WA and in America, professor, poet, photographer, and humanitarian — Dr. Wayne Larrabee is founder of the Larrabee Center.

Wayne F Larrabee, Jr, MD, MSH, FACS is widely recognized as one of the top facial plastic surgeons in the world. Dr. Larrabee is a Clinical Professor and directs the UW Fellowship in Facial Plastic Surgery. He has published over 175 articles and his three books have been printed in multiple editions and many languages- Principles of Facial Reconstruction, Surgical Anatomy of the Face, and The Art and Craft of Facial Rejuvenation. He is the founding editor of the Clinics in Facial Plastic Surgery and JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. He teaches around the globe and this year was the distinguished lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and honored lecturer in China, Colombia, Mexico, Portugal in addition to many courses in the US. He has directed major international courses in Rhinoplasty and Aging Face Surgery.

Dr Larrabee has been listed as one of the Best Doctors in America for over two decades and was on the cover of Seattle Magazine’s Best Doctor issue. His honors include- Schoenrock Award, Mark Raferty Award, Award from Croatia for ProBono Surgery on War Victims, Ira Tresley Award, Benjamin Schuster Award, Shirley Baron Memorial Award, Joseph Award for outstanding contributions to Facial Plastic Surgery awarded by the European Society of Facial Plastic Surgery and many more.

Dr. Larrabee has been president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS), American Board of Otolaryngology, and the International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery.                                               

He is a founding member of the “Face to Face” Program, which provides pro bono surgery and education throughout the world. The Face to Face Program of the AAFPRS also has a project to assist the victims of domestic violence in this country for which Dr. Larrabee received the AMA’s Major Public Service Award in 1996 on behalf of the AAFPRS.  He founded “Global Surgical Outreach,” a Washington State non-profit organization to provide reconstructive surgery for children in China, Ethiopia and elsewhere with the focus on cleft lip and palate deformities.

Dr. Larrabee’s non-medical interests include photography and poetry.  He has published both in numerous literary journals.  He is also the proud father of 7 children.

 

A consultation with Dr. Larrabee

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If you are looking for, or considering, facial plastic surgery in Seattle area, contact Dr. Larrabee for a consultation today. With his expertise and experience, he will be able to evaluate and recommend the best treatment to achieve your desired looks.

His Honors and Awards include:

  • The Best Doctors in America, 1994 to Present (selected for the cover of Seattle Magazine Best Doctors 2002)
  • Schoenrock Award for outstanding lifetime contributions to the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Mark Rafferty Award for Outstanding Contributions to Facial Plastic Surgery
  • Award from Croatia for Pro Bono Surgery on War Victims
  • Award from the Governor of Michocan, Mexico for work with cleft lip-palate children
  • Teacher of the Year, University of Washington, Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery
  • The Honor Award of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for national contributions in facial plastic surgery
  • The Honor Award of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery for excellence in teaching
  • The Ira Tresley Award of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for excellence in research
  • Award for Excellence Triological Society Thesis: “A Finite Element Model of Skin Deformation” received honorable mention for its excellence
  • Investigator Development Award of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • The Benjamin Schuster Award of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for the paper, “Skin Flap Tension as a Function of Undermining”
  • Shirley Baron Memorial Award of the Triological Association for the paper, “The Biomechanics of Advancement and Rotation Flaps”
  • Joseph Award for outstanding contributions to Facial Plastic Surgery awarded by the European Society of Facial Plastic Surgery, 2006
  • Community Service Award for Domestic Violence and Global Cleft Programs by Seattle Magazine, July 2014

Dr. Larrabee’s research and clinical writings have resulted in over 150 publications. He has had three medical books published – Surgical Anatomy of the Face, Principles of Facial Reconstruction, and The Art and Craft of Facial Rejuvenation Surgery. He is a founding editor for the Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America and is the editor of the AMA Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Medical Association (or JAMA) – the medical journal with the world’s largest circulation.

He is one of the founding members of the Face to Face program, which provides pro bono surgery and education throughout the world. Medical leaders in Croatia and Mexico have recognized his work in their countries.

The Face to Face program of the AAFPRS also has a project to assist the victims of domestic violence in this country, for which Dr. Larrabee received the AMA’s Major Public Service Award in 1996 on behalf of the AAFPRS. He most recently founded Global Surgical Outreach, a non-profit organization to provide reconstructive surgery for children in China and elsewhere with cleft lip and palate deformities.

Dr. Larrabee also has a consultant practice at 107 Harley Street in London, England.  He operates from the London Clinic and Weymouth Hospital.

Dr. Larrabee’s non-medical interests include photography and poetry. He has published both in numerous literary journals. A book of poems, Racing the Train, was published in 1994 and a photobook, Roslyn – A Town’s Portrait, in 1996. He has published many poems in the Lancet and a poem “Charity Hospital, New Orleans,” in The Journal of the American Medical Association, March, 2006.

Dr. Larrabee’s Curriculum Vitae

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