Face the Future Ukraine: Advancing Reconstructive Surgery in Ivano-Frankivsk

The Face the Future Ukraine team, consisting of 15 specialists from Canada and the U.S., visited Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Hospital for the third time this spring to perform complex reconstructive surgeries. The team included reconstructive and plastic surgeons, an oculoplastic surgeon, an anesthesiologist, and nurses. They also shared their knowledge at the Third International Symposium for Surgeons “Reconstructive Surgery of Military Trauma of the Head and Neck” and the Third Symposium for Nurses “Peculiarities of Management of Patients with Military Trauma and Posttraumatic Disorders,” which saw over 130 surgeons and 230 nurses in attendance.

During their trip, the team performed 88 procedures on 32 severely injured Ukrainian heroes, focusing on major head and neck reconstruction. Collaborating with foreign colleagues provides Ukrainian surgeons a unique opportunity to diagnose complex injuries, plan treatments, and perform intricate reconstructive surgeries.

“Preparation for this mission begins long before our foreign colleagues arrive in Ukraine. Over the past five months, we have examined more than a hundred patients to plan surgeries, select specialists, and develop individual implants. It’s a big team effort. It’s very valuable that many surgeries are performed for the first time in the Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Hospital. During these missions, we not only restore the health of our soldiers but also learn from foreign colleagues and start performing new surgical interventions on our own,” says Nataliya Komashko, ENT, Head of the Ukrainian Medical Team.

“Every year, we conduct missions in different parts of the world, but in Ukraine, we encounter the most serious cases. No surgeon has faced such injuries unless they were in a war zone. We will return to Ukraine to help restore the faces of as many soldiers as possible. They are heroes who stand for the freedom of their people,” says Dr. Peter Adamson, founder of the Face the Future Foundation, who has just been awarded the prestigious Teasdale-Corti Award by The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).


The Face the Future nurses, led by Laurie Thomas, RN, set up a nursing training center and provided simulation models and stethoscopes for nurses to advance their skills. Laurie organized a stethoscope drive in Canada, donating dozens of stethoscopes during the conference. The team also developed protocols for a PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) and introduced this component of postoperative care in Ivano-Frankivsk hospital.

Personal Implants

A volunteer team of bioengineers from Materialise (3D printing company) designs and prints individual implants for patients. They provide an online platform for surgeons to recreate patient scans in 3D, allowing for a clear understanding of trauma and designing specific implants. This platform enables Ukrainian and Canadian surgeons to work together on the same patient, sharing documentation and collaborating comfortably. 

Materialise engineers prepared 3D anatomy simulations and patient-specific 3D-printed implants for eight patients.

Medical Supplies

Medical supplies are vital for such projects, as many surgeries require specific instruments. Debbie Fritz, RN, Team Leader of Procurement, coordinates the needs of surgeons, leveraging connections with suppliers to secure donations or discounts. Razom procures critical supplies in Ukraine, which are then donated to the hospital.

Through targeted medical trips, conferences, and training sessions, providers working with the Razom Co-Pilot Project are empowering healthcare professionals, enhancing skills and methods, and ultimately improving surgical care in Ukraine.

We are immensely grateful to the Face the Future team for their continued support of Ukrainian healthcare:

– Dr. Peter Adamson, Chef de Mission

– Dr. Anthony E. Brissett, Mission Director

– Susan Truax, Administrative Support

– Dr. Josh Kain, Surgeon

– Dr. Irena Karanetz, Surgeon

– Dr. Vladimir Kratky, Surgeon

– Dr. Terry Taylor, Surgeon

– Dr. Burke Bradley, Anesthesiologist

– Amy Bradley, RN

– Debbie Fritz, RN, Team Leader for Procurement

– Maureen Merchant, RN

– Heather Leard, CST

– Laurie Thomas, RN, Head of RNs Team, Leader of Nursing Academic Day

– Bibi Yasin, RN

– Yurij Tsuvanyk, CST

– Pam Leeman, RN

We are thankful to all Ukrainian doctors, nurses, and medical professionals who tirelessly provide treatment to Ukrainian patients, both civilians and military, during the hardships of war.

Patient’s Story

“My daughter did not recognize me after the injury. I dream that the doctors will give me back my face,” said 29-year-old Oleksii before the operation. He was one of the 32 patients of the international mission of reconstructive surgeons Face the Future Ukraine in Ivano-Frankivsk.

Oleksii was seriously injured in the Donetsk area during an assault on enemy positions, where he came under mortar fire. His brother died, and Oleksii was severely injured in the face and hand. He was in a coma for five days and could not speak or eat for several months, but doctors managed to repair his face and final results will be visible in six months.

The humanitarian program “Face the Future Ukraine” was founded by Face the Future Foundation, Razom for Ukraine, and Still Strong to provide free reconstructive surgeries to Ukrainian patients and train Ukrainian surgeons. It is implemented in partnership with the CF “Patients of Ukraine,” the project “Rehabilitation of War Injuries,” the Ukrainian Association of Endoscopic Head and Neck Surgery, the Regional Clinical Hospital of the Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Council, Healing The Children North East, UMANA, Americares, with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, Ivano-Frankivsk OVA, companies Metinvest, Nova Ukraine, Materialise, Yellow Blue Force Foundation, and Transmed.

Learn more about and support the Co-Pilot Project and Razom Health.

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