Ghanaian plastic surgeon Mr Edem Anyigba and a team from Korle-Bu teaching hospital recently completed a successful hand replant procedure in Accra, Ghana. This procedure was the first of its kind to be performed at Korle-Bu. The patient (pictured here with Mr Anyigba) is a 28 year old machine operator in a plastic recycling plant in Accra – at the time of the accident he was working on a plastic cutting machine that was accidentally turned on by a colleague. His right hand was completely amputated at the wrist. After initial first aid on the scene the young man was transferred to a nearby general hospital and then on to a military hospital where fortunately, Dr Kwesi Nsaful is stationed. Dr Nsaful is a fully qualified reconstructive surgeon and in 2016 ReSurge Africa sponsored him to attend a Microsurgery and Flap course plus 3 months observership at Canniesburn Hospital, Glasgow. Dr Nsaful and Mr Anyigba have worked as colleagues at Korle-Bu and Dr Nsaful was able to stabilise the patient, properly package the amputated hand and transfer the patient, with his preserved hand to Korle-Bu, where he knew that Mr Anyigba had the skills to perform the necessary surgical procedure. Prior to the patient arriving at Korle-Bu, Dr Nsaful was able to send photographs of the injury to Mr Anyigba who saw that it was a ‘clean-cut, with minimal tissue damage’ and that replantation was possible. The patient was on the operating table at Korle-Bu approximately 4 hours after the injury took place. 10 days post surgery the little finger on the injured hand, which had been precarious from the onset, had to be amputated as the team felt it unwise to subject the patient to another prolonged Anaesthesia. During the procedure, initial debridement and dissection of the extensor tendons and flexor tendons were carried out using surgical Loupes and the Veins, arteries and nerves were dissected using the large specialist Microscope, previously purchased through funding provided by ReSurge supporter Mr Dirk Kuyt from Ayrshire, Scotland . It has now been 3 months since the surgery and the patient is doing well and is diligent with his Physiotherapy. He has financial support from his employer and is making good progress and his range of movements are improving weekly. He is aware that he may require further surgery in the future. He is expected to return to employment ( in a new capacity) within about 4 – 6 weeks which is very good news and is hopeful that one day in the future, may return to work in his original capacity.
We asked Mr Anyigba where he acquired the skills needed to perform such a delicate and complex procedure?
” I received my initial training by working with senior consultants at the plastic surgery centre in Accra, and from visiting surgeons from Canniesburn and Glasgow. (ReSurge Directors Mr Stuart Watson and Mr Martyn Webster). In 2012 ReSurge Africa fully sponsored a microsurgery training course in Glasgow and later whilst at Ganga Hospital in India I completed a year’s fellowship training in Hand and Microsurgery under the mentorship of Professor Raja Sabapathy. (It was during this time at Ganga that Mr Anyigba saw several similar injurys. ) This year I attended another Microsurgery course at Ganga”
We also asked who had inspired Mr Anyigba to become a plastic surgeon?
” I was ‘recruited’ by Mr Opoku Ware Ampomah at Korle-Bu teaching hospital after I was set to join the Orthopedic residency. I’m not sure what he saw in me at the time! Mr Ampomah, Mr Albert Paintsil, and Mr Tony Laing have been very instrumental in my training. So has Mr Martyn Webster, both as a teacher and advocate for expanding plastic surgery services in West Africa. Professor Sabapathy from Ganga Hospital in India has been my biggest inspiration. He is hard working with superb work ethics and has a fantastic relationship with his patients. He is an excellent surgeon and a joy to watch when he is operating. I always look forward to his teachings. He is such a vast repository of knowledge and experience and best of all his ability to put together an excellent team in Ganga Hospital (Dr Bharthi, Dr Hari, Dr Sanjay and Dr Praveen all deserve special mention) This team imparted invaluable lessons whilst I was with them and I am truly grateful. Simply put, Dr Sabapathy is a visionary and I am highly honoured to have studied in his facility and to be taught by him”
The training that Mr Anyigba has received is responsible now for the life altering surgery he and his team is able to perform on patients such as this 28 year old Ghanaian man.
This story highlights ReSurge Africa’s ongoing aim to provide ‘Hope Through Training’ and our long term goal to establish Reconstructive Surgery and Burns Services in West Africa. We are very proud of Mr Anyigba and the surgical team at Korle-Bu. Funding is currently being sought to purchase more Microscopes to provide further Microsurgery training opportunities at Korle-Bu teaching hospital.