In Hue, Central Vietnam, Orthopaedic Outreach volunteers delivered the 25th team visit and 15th instructional course with orthopaedic and plastic surgeons combining with nurses and plaster technicians to total 100 participants. This visit is recognised throughout all regions of Vietnam as a highlight for upper limb conditions. The local coordination of such a course is essential as the partnership evolves, with Hue Central Hospital Director of Orthopaedic Department, Prof Nguyen Van Hy welcoming the continuation of these annual course as an important phase of local surgeon development.
Clinically the team have focused on the management of upper limb injury with brachial plexus injury dominating the October 2018 program. The impact of corrective surgery for more than 20 patients with these specific injuries is life changing. Additional to this, a further 25 patients received surgical intervention presenting with a variety of nerve, tendon or other soft tissue injury or bony defect as a result of traumatic injury.
The teaching component of this team activity features multidisciplinary inclusion ensuring post-operative rehabilitation occurs to maximise their ability to return to normal function as soon as possible.
Further projects have been established in Vietnam emerging from the origins of the relationship with the Hospital for Traumatology and Orthopaedics in Mo Chi Minh City. Teaching remains the focus of each visit, with Outreach volunteers collaborating with Dr Do, Clinical Dean of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, to deliver multiple lectures, case discussions, cadaveric practical workshops and surgical skills sessions. These target the mid to high range surgeons in establishing not only advanced surgical skills, but fostering a learning environment for those surgical trainees and medical students also in attendance.
Medical industry support for these Vietnam projects has been extremely generous with particular mention of Stryker South Pacific (external fixateur training) and Conmed Linvatec (donation of three arthroscopic towers to the university for teaching purposes). The lasting benefits for surgical trainees in having access to instrumentation and equipment will advance their training.
Orthopaedic surgery impacts populations at either end of the spectrum. Access to arthroplasty surgery is becoming an expectation globally. Vietnam surgeons are expanding their clinical practices to meet these needs, and our Outreach volunteers have been included in high level discussions regarding primary hip and knee planning, rehabilitation and infection control. Plans are also being considered for the management of children with musculoskeletal conditions. This included participating in an inaugural summit on the management of cerebral palsy in Ho Chi Minh City.