Piura, Peru - Dr. Ian Wilson, Webster Fellow: Eight-year-old Yajaira was severely burned last August when a kerosene cooking fuel canister exploded in the kitchen, engulfing it and her. The burn affected most of her body, and despite receiving therapy soon after the traumatic event, she developed disabling contractures of both her limbs. Dr. Roberto Roddi (an Italian plastic surgeon and fellow surgical team member) and I decided that we could release and reconstruct the armpits on both of her arms. We performed a one-hour burn contracture release with a Z plasty reconstruction. In English, that means that we allowed the melted skin that was previously stuck together to be separated.
Whereas previously she could not lift her arms above her head, now she can. It’s remarkable that even in the early post-op period, you can see that she can now lift her arms above her shoulders. This will allow her to do the things that every young girl wants to do but many take for granted, such as raise her hand in class, play sports or even comb her hair.
Interplast provides burn contracture surgeries that truly help these children overcome functional limitations. Burn surgeries are so critical to a child’s development, but can sometimes get overshadowed by easier, more night-and-day procedures such as cleft lip repairs. But patients with burn contractures are often unable to perform daily activities, and after the surgery they notice a huge difference in their ability to live their life as they choose. In a profound way, we have truly helped heal Yajaira’s body and changed her life.