“I participated in this fellowship for 6 months, in Netherlands and India, with special interest in Aesthetics and Paediatrics.
At Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, I spent most of my time in operation theatres of Sophia Children’s Hospital. In those 3 months in the Craniofacial Unit, I gained a valuable training, by participating in more than 50 procedures for craniosynostosis, as well as clefts and other congenital cases, with Dr Jacques vd Meulen and Prof Mathijssen mainly. Also, I was involved in some cases for reconstruction in the adult’s hospital. On the other hand, in Velthuis Kliniek in Rotterdam, with Dr vd Meulen and Dr Klepetko, and in Bergman Kliniek in The Hague, with Dr Stevens, I was involved in more than 100 procedures for aesthetics; face lift, neck lift, brow lift, blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty, lipofilling etc, and some cases for breast augmentation, mastopexy and reduction. That was a very useful experience for my practice in cosmetic plastic surgery, as these surgeons are very keen to teach. In most of the cases, in both paediatrics and aesthetics, I was scrubbed, having a quite high level of teaching, but I think that there is more space for even more active participation. Additionally, I had the opportunity to practice for almost 40 hours in microsurgery, at the Skills Lab of the department. During that period, I really enjoyed living in Netherlands. I had a nice apartment shared with another fellow in a reasonable cost, as well as a nice bike, provided by the hospital for cycling in the city, and apparently I had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this country.
The second part in India was a lifetime unique experience for me. That was my first time living outside Europe and the social part was quite challenging for me. The Charles Pinto Centre for Cleft Lip and Palate is a well established cleft unit in a christian mission hospital, working in partnership with Smile Train, operating a large number of children with clefts free of charge. I had the privilege to have an intensive, one-to-one, hands-on training in clefts plastic surgery, working for 6 days weekly; I had the chance to perform my first procedures under supervision for cleft lip and palate repair, although there are more opportunities for even more active participation. Overall, in those 3 months I made a logbook of participation in more than 70 cases in primary and secondary cleft lip and palate repair, pharyngoplasty, cleft rhinoplasty, alveolar bone graft etc. I also participated in outpatient clinic weekly, having the experience of team work with speech pathologist, maxillofacial surgeons and orthodontist. Dr Adenwalla and Dr Narayanan, as well as the other colleagues, tried their best for teaching and I am so grateful of being part of that team and proud of offering my service in that community. My colleagues were very friendly and helped me on understanding and enjoying this different culture. I stayed at the nearby hotel, which was acceptable, but it would be more appropriate for the fellow to have a flat or hospital accommodation in a more reasonable cost. I recommend this unit for a Plastic Surgeon with interest in clefts.
In conclusion, that fellowship for me was a valuable Craniofacial and Cleft fellowship, with extra training in Aesthetics, and this is the basis for my future career as a Plastic Surgeon.”