Description of Mexican Cleft Surgeons' Experience With Foreign Surgical Volunteer Missions in Mexico

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Abstract

Background and Purpose

Mexican cleft surgeons provide multidisciplinary comprehensive cleft lip and palate care to children in Mexico. Many Mexican cleft surgeons have extensive experience with foreign, visiting surgeons. The purpose of this study was to characterize Mexican cleft surgeons' domestic and volunteer practice and to learn more about Mexican cleft surgeons' experience with visiting surgeons.

Methods

A cross-sectional validated e-mail survey tool was sent to Mexican cleft surgeons through 2 Mexican plastic surgery societies and the Asociación Mexicana de Labio y Paladar Hendido y Anomalías Craneofaciales, the national cleft palate society that includes plastic and maxillofacial surgeons who specialize in cleft surgery. We utilized validated survey methodology, including neutral fact-based questions and repeated e-mails to survey nonresponders to maximize validity of statistical data; response rate was 30.6% (n = 81).

Results

Mexican cleft surgeons performed, on average, 37.7 primary palate repairs per year with an overall complication rate of 2.5%; 34.6% (n = 28) of respondents had direct experience with patients operated on by visiting surgeons; 53.6% of these respondents performed corrective surgery because of complications from visiting surgeons. Respondents rated 48% of the functional outcomes of visiting surgeons as “acceptable,” whereas 43% rated aesthetic outcomes of visiting surgeons as “poor”; 73.3% of respondents were never paid for the corrective surgeries they performed. Thirty-three percent of Mexican cleft surgeons believe that there is a role for educational collaboration with visiting surgeons.

Conclusions

Mexican cleft surgeons have a high volume of primary cleft palate repairs in their domestic practice with good outcomes. Visiting surgeons may play an important role in Mexican cleft care through educational collaborations that complement the strengths of Mexican cleft surgeons.

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