Imagine waking up to the sound of rockets crashing into nearby buildings, the constant rattle of machine gun fire, the acrid smell of smoke from burning buildings and the wail of human suffering. Imagine that this happens, not just one morning, but most mornings of your life. Consider how it would feel to have your family torn apart by war and then your own face disfigured by shrapnel, your fingers blown off and your hopes of a normal life shattered. Now, imagine that you are only eight years old.
Such is the life of many children in war-torn areas of the world For these children, the opportunity of receiving plastic surgery to transform their marred bodies is beyond their wildest dreams and would not be merely cosmetic, but life-changing, hope instilling and enabling.
A 2010 article spoke of a nine-year-old child name Rabah who had lost the use of his legs due to a failed operation and was waiting to leave Gaza for further treatment. According to the report, Rabah’s was not an unusual case; he represented hundreds of children condemned to a life of great difficulty due to burns, shrapnel wounds and other physical effects of the continuous strife from which the area suffered.
Unfortunately, such is the case for many children around the world. Scar tissue from burns can attach a chin to a neck, fuse fingers together and otherwise leave a child unable to live a normal life. Plastic surgery offers hope.
Tools of Hope
To many people the words “plastic surgery” bring visions of models and movie stars undergoing vanity procedures to enhance their screen appeal; however, that is only one aspect of plastic surgery. Although cosmetic plastic surgery procedures have become common in our culture, reconstructive plastic surgeries are performed just as regularly and offer hope to many children around the world.
Some doctors travel to offer their services to children in war-torn areas of the world, such as Palestine and Africa. A Japanese surgeon and a Belgian anesthesiologist both volunteered their time to work with children in the Gaza strip. Lives are transformed and given hope for a more normal future. The power of plastic surgery to transform lives is not limited to far off places and victims of war. Numerous plastic surgeons offer similar hope to children close to home, including some of the best plastic surgeons in Toronto.
Bullying because of physical appearance is an unfortunate, but common, occurrence among children anywhere. Children who do not look “normal,” whether due to congenital defects, accidents or burns, often suffer greatly at the hands (and mouths) of their peers. In the past, victims of such bullying had no hope of respite, but today, plastic surgery offers freedom from such bullying as ABC News reported in the case of Samantha Shaw, a teen so self-conscious of her ears that she avoided earrings and kept her hair down.
While such issues may seem trifling compared to the suffering endured by war victims, the psychological effects on children can still be devastating. For burn victims, especially, there is nothing like the hope offered through plastic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is a life-altering gift, giving children hope for normal function and abililties in their lives.
License: Creative Commons
License: Creative Commons image source
Dr. Frank Lista is affiliated with The Plastic Surgery Clinic. He is a life-long resident of beautiful Toronto, Ontario, having grown up, earned his doctorate, and is also now raising his family there.
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