Generally, patients with leprosy do not come forward to undergo reconstructive surgery to make their limbs function again due to a feeling of stigma.
The Department of Plastic Surgery of Andhra Medical College (AMC) and King George Hospital (KGH) has been conducting a workshop on tendon transfer in leprosy patients on July 15 every year for the last three years to mark the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Day.
Doctors and PG students from different parts of AP are invited to the workshop. Noted surgeon for leprosy ailments and former Deputy Director of Leprosy Mission of India D. Vijay Kumar, the six qualified surgeons of the department, one medical officer and five PG students would perform surgeries on 10 patients on July 15.
P.V. Sudhakar, HoD of Plastic Surgery of AMC and KGH, said that there was a need to remove the misconception among people that plastic surgery was a cosmetic surgery and only for the rich.
The Association of Plastic Surgeons of India observe July 15 as the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery every year though no significance is attached to the date. "This is a service-cum-academic activity and we are conducting the program as ours is a training institute and to make training of PGs a comprehensive one," he said.
"Ninety percent of leprosy patients are poor. Most of them also are not aware that surgery could bring a lot of relief to them. Stigma stops them from seeing a doctor," Dr. Sudhakar explained.
Healthy tendons of the patient would be placed in the places where tendons are dead, he explained. But the surgeries are complicated, take a lot of time, and good training is needed to perform the surgeries.