Norman Waterhouse, a leading London-based consultant plastic surgeon and one of the founders of Facing the World (www.facingtheworld.net), a charity that benefits children with facial deformities, today addressed the impact of reconstructive plastic surgery on children.
Norman Waterhouse, who is Head of the Craniofacial Unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, will be operating on a child from Laos on the 14th of May: 15-year-old Dokchanh Sivilay, who suffers from encephelocele, a rare congenital neural tube defect that results in a portion of the brain protruding through a hole in the skull.
According to Norman Waterhouse: “ Children living with physical deformities often face strong prejudice, and ridicule. They suffer from low self-esteem and even depression, especially in countries where medical assistance is hard to find. Plastic surgery can help them rebuild their lives, and free them from the psychological hardships brought on by their condition.”
Globally, 1 in 800 children are born with some kind of facial disfigurement, and 1 in 20,000 are born with significant deformities. Many of these malformations are not just aesthetically challenging, they can also be deadly: 11-year-old Eyerusalem from Ethiopia had a vascular malformation arround her nose and throat, which would eventually have prevented her from breathing, had she not received life-saving surgery in London.
According to Sarah Driver-Jowitt, executive co-ordinator of Facing the World: “A child’s life can be blighted by facial deformity. Our patients are a testimony to the innovations of modern medicine and the commitment of eminent surgeons such as Norman Waterhouse to this cause.”
Past patients of Facing the World have included Hadisa, from Afghanistan, who faced stoning to death in her village because of her condition, and Kalyani, a child from India whose father distributed over 400 handwritten letters, begging medical help for his daughter. Others include 7-year-old Ali Hussein, who was shot and lost an eye, his nose, and part of his jaw, and most recently, Pan Ainoy, known in her village as the ‘Elephant Girl’. (Before-and-after photos are available).
Norman Waterhouse, former President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), is among a number of experienced practitioners whose practice combines cosmetic as well as reconstructive surgery. Another surgeon who will be operating on Dokchanh is Martin Kelly, consultant plastic surgeon and co-Founder of Facing the World.
Donations to Facing the World are gratefully accepted. Please contact 020 7736 3327.