Sister Seok is taking a photograph with smiling Angelo (right) recovering from operations
A spine research team led by Professor Lee Choon-sung, Associate Professor Lee Dong-ho, and Assistant Professors Ha Jung-ki and Jo Jae-hwan of orthopedic surgery won the best clinical paper at the 43rd Annual Meeting of Cervical Spine Research Society held in San Diego, USA from December 3 to 5. The paper titled ‘The fate of non-united segment observed through 1-year follow-up after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion’ was recognized for suggesting new perspectives on non-united segment commonly found after anterior cervical fusion.
It was their fifth to win prizes at cervical spine societies at home and abroad in the past five years.
A nine-year old boy Angelo who lives in the Andes of Peru got seriously burned when he was seven-month old. His left ear and hand were amputated and the left skull was also lost. He needed to receive sophisticated surgeries at a large hospital, but couldn’t afford to get proper treatment. A Korean nun Seok Geum-ja who was doing missionary work in Peru heard of his story and asked the Korean government officials who visited Peru in April last year for extending help to him. Finally the Korea Food for the Hungry International introduced him to AMC where sophisticated surgery and medical fee support are both available.
On November 2, Angelo traveled a 36-hour flight and arrived in AMC with Sister Seok. From November 11, he went through a reconstruction of his lost left skull and got a skin graft on the head and the left arm which were losing functions to become stiff. Professor Ra Young-shin of pediatric neurosurgery and Professor Hong Joon-pio, Professor Choi Jong-woo and Professor Suh Hyun-suk of plastic surgery performed the surgeries. First, the meninges were separated from the brain by the division of neurosurgery and the lost area of the left temporal lobe was reconstructed considering his growth. Next, the blood vessel removed from the ankle was grafted on the head and the skin removed from the thigh was grafted on the head. His left arm skin damaged by burn was also reconstructed. To allow him to have a prosthetic hand for the left hand, a plastic reconstructive surgery was carried out. It costed around 50 million won which will be fully funded by AMC. Angelo will return home to Peru after treatment is completed in the middle of this month.