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Specialists in Bulawayo yesterday reconstructed the nose of a 31-year-old man in a ground-breaking four-hour operation, said to be the first of its kind in Zimbabwe. Local doctors led by Canadian and American plastic surgeons carried out the procedure at Mpilo Central Hospital under the Operation of Hope organisation.

Dr Christiaan Schrag (left) of Operation of Hope medical outreach team from Canada with the patient Newstone Ngando whose nose they restored during the group’s medical outreach programme at Mpilo hospital yesterday

The organisation is made up of “surgical missionaries” who do reconstructive surgery free of charge around the world.Mr Newston Ngando of Emganwini had been breathing through two holes after his nostrils were destroyed in a car accident in December last year. The doctors grafted skin from his thigh and forehead, which they used to painstakingly rebuild his nose.

The Chronicle caught up with the visibly relaxed Mr Ngando at Mpilo Central hospital where he said the procedure will bring him comfort.>He said he has been uncomfortable as people always stared at his disfigured face.

“I had even lost confidence in myself,” he said

“I am happy that I got this opportunity and I am optimistic things will be normal from this day onwards. I lost my nose last year and had to brave my funny appearance which was sometimes not comfortable,” said Mr Ngando.He said his family had been supportive from the day of the accident which made life easier for him.

“I haven’t seen how I look yet but I am hopeful the procedure will fix things,” said Mr Ngando.

Dr Christiaan Schrag, a plastic surgeon from Canada said Mr Ngando’s procedure — nasal reconstruction—took three and a half hours.

“We talked about doing this for one patient whom we saw two years ago but unfortunately he didn’t come back. So this is first time in Zimbabwe that we’re doing this which is quite a common procedure for patients who lose their nose due to cancer in other countries,” said Dr Schrag.Dr Christiaan Schrag.

He said it was uncommon for patients to lose their nose due to trauma and he was happy Mr Ngando’s procedure was successful.

“We used the septum which is behind the nose, and we brought it forward. We took a skin graft from his thigh to line the inside of the nose. We took his forehead flap to cover the nose so basically that is all we used in the procedure,” he said.

According to Dr Schrag, Mr Ngando has been referred to local specialists who will monitor him.

“He needs a second stage where the flap will be divided in about three to four weeks. Once the flap is removed which was put to supply blood, it will look better. He will need three to four revisions to remove scar tissue excess and to make it look more like a nose,” added Dr Schrag.

Officials at Mpilo confirmed that his procedure was the first ever to be conducted at the hospital if not in Zimbabwe.

“I have witnessed several procedures being done and today was my first time to see someone getting his nose constructed. I have seen a number of people with partial nose but it was the first time to see specialists attending to one,” confirmed one of the 17 surgeons who were conducting the procedures.

Mr Ngando is among 45 people who benefited from the programme which ends today.The organisation’s president Dr Jennifer Mora said Mr Ngando’s surgery was the highlight of their third annual visit to Mpilo Central Hospital.

“Since 2006 and until a few years ago we used to come twice a year and we would be in Harare until we realised a number of babies were from this region.

“We then decided to extend the programme to Mpilo so that people don’t travel long distances to access our services,” said Dr Mora.

“We have done about 45 surgeries including a young man who was involved in a car accident and lost his nose. This morning we were able to recreate his nose and it was very exciting for us,” said Dr Mora.


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