General Surgeon at Circle Health supports charity with surgical trip to Liberia

Mr Mahesh Pai, a consultant general surgeon at Circle Bath Hospital, recently returned from Liberia after providing free life-altering surgery to over 200 patients in need of hernia repair.

In conjunction with the charity organisation Hernia International, Mr Pai and a number of his medical colleagues traveled to Liberia to deliver modern techniques of hernia surgery in low-income countries.

Speaking to Mr Pai we found out a little more what he experienced during his mission to the West African coast.

"After landing in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, we travelled to Ganta in the north of the country about a 3-hour trip. We visited the Esther and Jereline Medical Center where we started work the same afternoon with one outpatient clinic and we each performed one operation.

Thereafter we averaged about 30-35 operations a day. The vast majority of operations were hernia repairs but we also operated on some hydroceles (swollen testicles due to fluid around them). The vast majority of the hernias were groin hernias but we also operated on umbilical hernias as well."

Hernias are where weak spots can develop in the layer of muscle surrounding the abdominal cavity containing intestines and other structures. As a result of this the contents of the abdomen, along with the inner layer, push through the abdominal wall. This produces a lump, often felt and sometimes visible which is called a hernia. Hernias can occur in the abdomen and groin area and often they are not always painful.

Circle Bath Hospital was able to support Mr Pai’s visit by directly donating a vast array of medical supplies to assist with surgery. The hospital contributed to the charity by donating sutures, single-use catheters, surgical masks, gowns, gloves, hand wash, and surgical drapes.

Mr Pai said: “It was evident that without the donation from Circle Bath Hospital our supplies would have been greatly limited due to the demand. The expectation of a week-long trip is usually about 100 operations for 4 surgeons. So we do feel particularly pleased with the eventual number we achieved.”

The medical team on this trip had a target of 100 surgical procedures but successfully managed to achieve over 200 surgical procedures during their 7-day visit.

“All in all it was a pleasant and rewarding experience and one I hope to repeat in the future”­ concluded Mr Pai.

If you’d like to learn more about the charity work conducted by Hernia International please visit their website www.herniainternational.org.uk

For more information on hernia surgery, types of hernia and the surgical treatments available please click here

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