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Drs. Abraham and Moscatello Return to Ukraine to Train Reconstructive Plastic Surgeons

Faculty Members Trained Local Doctors in Complex Face and Neck Reconstructive Surgeries on Their Second Ukraine Mission Trip

July 03, 2023
Medical professionals staring ahead smiling wearing scrubs in front of a palm tree indoor plant
Manoj T. Abraham, M.D., FACS, (center), and Augustine Moscatello, M.D., M.S., (left), Ivanna Nebor, M.D., (second from right).

The doctors from the trip organized by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Healing the Children Northeast, Inc., Razom for Ukraine and Ingenious flew to Krakow, Poland, and traveled by bus to the Ukrainian city of Lviv. The commute took a day and a half, as flights to Ukraine from the United States continue to be restricted due to the war. Air raids are still heard hundreds of miles away from the war site; however, Ukrainians have become accustomed to the sound.

Twenty medical professionals participated in the mission trip, including Westchester Medical Center otolaryngology resident, Ivanna Nebor, M.D. Each week, the Military Medical Clinical Center, where they operated, receives many patients who need more specialized care from other frontline hospitals. Before performing 25 reconstructive surgeries, the doctors screened their patients and looked at their photos, videos and histories to determine how best to approach their care. Men, between the ages of 18 and 40, arrived at the military hospital with devastating injuries on their neck and face - some missing limbs and injuries to their torsos. The doctors on the mission trip conducted training courses and worked with the Ukrainian doctors in the operating room to care for the patients.

“It was an emotional experience,” said Dr. Moscatello. “The weather was mild so many of the patients were outdoors in wheelchairs and on stretchers in the garden of the hospital campus. Many of the injured soldiers wanted their injuries to be taken care of so they can return to the frontline and continue the fight against the Russians.”

The third mission trip to Ukraine is scheduled for November. Ukrainian doctors will also be brought for training to the United States for three to six months. The goal is for the surgeons to go back to the war-stricken country and implement the techniques they learned to reconstruct head and neck injuries. The mission trips are going to be an ongoing project to aid Ukrainians in the fight against Russia.

“We have a particular skill set that is needed in Ukraine as reconstructive plastic surgeons,” said Dr. Abraham. “I just don't want to sit over here doing nothing. I prefer to be able to go there and offer that assistance. My mindset is ‘what can we do to make their lives better?’”