Abu Dhabi: Plastic and reconstructive surgery is increasingly becoming necessary for accident victims in the UAE who suffer from extreme loss of skin, muscle or bone. Often they require microsurgery.

At Al Mafraq Hospital, managed by the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, over three cosmetic surgeries are performed a week and 32 beds are dedicated to plastic surgery patients.

"We have been receiving a lot of patients who require plastic surgery, mostly due to burns and accidents," said Dr Christoph H. Reuter, consultant and chief of the department of plastic and aesthetic surgery.

Even though Reuter arrived in Abu Dhabi just a month ago, he has witnessed several incidents involving extreme loss of skin.

"Since we are the only burns unit in Abu Dhabi, we are flooded with patients. Other congenital cases also arrive from Sharjah and Oman," said the doctor.

Mohammad Lokman, 24, Bangladeshi, lost his foot while working.

"A water tank fell on his foot and crushed all the bones. To avoid amputation we took a 20 to 30 centimetre flap of skin and muscle, with 1.4 millimetre diameter of a vessel from his upper leg to his foot," said the doctor. This was the first case of a microsurgical free tissue transfer ever to be done at Mafraq Hospital.

According to Reuter, with three months physiotherapy and the right orthopaedic shoe, the patient will be able to walk again within six weeks.

When asked to recall the incident Lokman told Gulf News he couldn't tell his foot was crushed. "I just remember there was a water leak. I climbed some stairs to turn off the tap and found water flooding the area."

"The next thing I remember is the water tank falling on me. I passed out after that and I was transferred to Al Mafraq to undergo surgery. I thought my leg or foot would be amputated and am blessed to have had this plastic surgery."

Sree Kuntu, 25, also from Bangladesh, was born with a cleft palate. He also had an accident eight years ago and was operated on several times abroad. Still he was not able to close his mouth.

Two months

"It took two months to operate on him. After surgery his lower lip was detached from the rest of his teeth and he can speak clearer and close his mouth again," said the doctor.

Another case involved an American teacher who nearly lost his thumb in a car accident.

"Cosmetic and hand surgery are the most popular surgeries we have. Next comes burns. With this specific patient we transferred skin with blood vessels and nerves from his middle finger to his thumb."

Al Mafraq Hospital handles:

  • 25 extensive burn cases a month
  • 30 hand surgeries due to trauma and accidents a week.
  • Three cosmetic surgeries a week
  • Ten cases of surgery for abnormalities, breast tumours, and skin tumours a week.

Have you ever been involved in an accident? What happened? Would you resort to reconstructive surgery if you were in such a situation? Why? Tell us at letter2editor@gulfnews.com or fill in the form bellow to send your comments.