|Facing surgical challenges|
|Thursday, 01 October 2009|
Hamish Laing reports from the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons’ Summer Scientific Meeting held in Leeds from 1 to 3 July 2009
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) has a long tradition of holding its Annual Summer Scientific Meeting near the home of its President and this year was no exception. Professor Simon Kay invited delegates to Leeds and to the impressive Royal Armouries Conference Centre and Museum set alongside the Clarence Dock, resplendent in the summer sunshine.
The considerable scope of the specialty was reflected in over 80 oral papers and 20 posters in sessions devoted to cleft and craniofacial surgery, hand and upper limb, burns, skin cancer, head and neck cancer, breast surgery and reconstruction and aesthetic surgery. The presentations were enjoyed by delegates from throughout the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, and Pakistan, permitting the global experience of plastic surgery to be shared.
Perhaps fittingly for the surroundings, there was a special plenary session on the role of plastic surgery in military conflict. Military and civilian colleagues involved in the current Allied Forces deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq shared the learning that has come from those theatres of war. Modern body armour is very different from that on display in the Leeds Armouries, but has in common a vulnerability for the limbs.
Delegates learned that survivors of modern military injuries, particularly from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) will often have devastating limb injuries requiring extensive debridement and repair using the full range of plastic surgery reconstructive options. A film of the initial management of a soldier injured by an IED left no delegate in any doubt of the challenges faced by colleagues in those environments.
Military confl ict is not new, nor is the requirement for surgery to treat the injured, and thus the current conflicts were set ably in context by the invited lecturer, Mr Mick Crumplin FRCS, retired surgeon from Wrexham, who told delegates of the remarkable career of George James Guthrie, surgeon in the Iberian Peninsular War (1808-14), who faced a very different set of surgical challenges.
As always, the science was leavened by opportunities to catch up with colleagues from around the globe, learn about the latest developments in the Trade Exhibitors’ Hall, and enjoy the splendid Association Dinner at Rudding Park.
The BAPRAS Winter Scientific Meeting will be held in London from 2 to 4 December 2009, and the Association invites plastic surgeons and colleagues from allied surgical disciplines to join them there.