Provide quality surgical and dental services to poor and under-privileged children and young adults in various countries throughout the world as well as facilitate the transfer of education, knowledge and recent innovations to the local medical communities.
Our Commitment, Our Mission
Every MMFC volunteer is committed to a singular goal:
To care for those in the poorest corners of the world, who have no access to specialized medical care.
Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
Cleft lip and palate deformities are not rare. Every hour, at least twenty children are born with this devastating affliction.
Of those twenty children, nineteen of them live in a place where their chance of receiving adequate medical and surgical care is zero.
Every year, MMFC volunteer teams provide surgical, dental, and rehabilitative care to over 2000 children born with cleft lip and cleft palate deformities. We return to each site at least once every year to follow-up with children we have operated on, and to complete surgical procedures on as many new patients as possible.
With the advent of electronic communication, MMFC surgeons stay in regular contact with the medical professionals we partner with in host countries. This allows week-to-week followup on the children we have cared for, and consultation regarding the children who will require surgery when we next visit.
Enlargement of the thyroid gland, known as thyroid goiter, is most commonly caused by a lack of iodine in the diet. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, or the chemical messengers that control the body’s metabolism. These substances also have regulatory effects on nearly all bodily tissues, and due to a lack of dietary salt in less developed countries, internal signals that promote the production of these hormones can lead to the development of enormous thyroid goiters.
Although usually non-cancerous, such immense growths can compromise an afflicted individual’s breathing, speaking, swallowing, and neck mobility. As made graphic by the above photos, abnormal growths of this size are impossible to conceal.
The scale of this problem, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, is incalculable. In countries like Rwanda and Madagascar, MMFC surgical teams operate on 30 to 40 thyroid goiter patients every week they are on site, and we provide all medications required during the recovery period. Nearly all patients are able to return to their homes within two days of surgery.
Microtia, while a less common affliction, is a devastating deformity. Adequate repair requires three to four separate operations over the course 12 to 24 months.
MMFC has been providing reconstructive surgery for microtia since 1991, and our volunteer teams have operated on more children born with this deformity than any other charitable organization.
For the survivors of burn trauma, secondary functional deficits are more often than not severe, with the resultant scars invariably horrific.
In countries with widespread poverty, serious facial and scalp burns are as rampant as they are tragic. Open fires for cooking and heating, careless storage of petroleum products and chemicals, exposed electrical cords, and nonexistent building codes leave children at great risk for these devastating injuries.
For the past 25 years, MMFC teams have been working side-by-side with Ukrainian surgeons and anesthesiologists in caring for children who have sustained severe burn injuries. One of the many technologies we have introduced in burn wound repair has been the use of tissue expanders, which allows the reconstruction of irreversibly damaged skin through the gradual expansion of adjoining normal skin. While this treatment often requires several surgical procedures, its impact has been immense, with several thousand Ukrainian children treated by way of this technology.
At age eight, Lesya sustained a full-thickness burn to over half of her scalp in a house fire. In the photograph on the right, a previously placed tissue expander has allowed an increase in the surface area of normal scalp skin. This process is painless,
allowing for the gradual increase in dimension of scalp skin. In the photograph on the right, Lesya is seen post-removal of the expander, with simultaneous repair of the damaged tissue with normal scalp skin layers.
Mykola, age nine, accidentally came into contact with a downed power line while playing futbal with his friends. The disfigurement from this electrical injury can be seen in the photograph on the left. After three separate operations – as always, completed by way of general anesthesia – his scalp was resurfaced in its entirety by way of tissue expansion.