Deformed hands corrected

National, Normal


THE lucky few people who had their debilitating hands deformities surgically corrected this week by the visiting plastic surgeons from Interplast are recovering in the Port Moresby General Hospital surgical ward.
The Interplast team to Port Moresby specialises in hand surgery while their colleagues who went to Alotau and Mt Hagen specialise in cleft lips, palates and hand reconstructive surgeries.
Raka Karoho, from Pari, Central province, had her bent elbow straightened out on Tuesday by the three-man team.
She had burnt her arm in 2000 during an argument with her husband.
Since then, the healed skin from both her upper and lower left arm had joined, causing her arm to be in a bent position.
She said that despite this, she was able to carry on with gardening, cleaning, doing laundry and raising five children.
Mrs Karoho said she was so happy when she heard about the Interplast team coming and was even happier when she was one of the lucky few to be selected for the operations.
Dr James Masson, who carried out the corrective surgery, said he cut the skin at the elbow to straighten out her arm.
Then he grafted the skin from her thigh and stapled it onto the wound on her arm.
After a week, the bandages and the staple pins will come off, and what will be left is a new patched of skin that will look like it has always been there.
Mrs Karoho said: “I am so happy to be able to stretch my arm. But my fingers could not be operated on in the short time.”
The Interplast team is leaving tomorrow after their last five surgeries today.
They would have operated on a total of 18 people, the youngest being 17 months old.
Local  plastic surgeon Dr John Maihua, who trained under them will be in charge of ward rounds to check on the patients.