A significant need is met by volunteer groups who provide free reconstructive plastic surgery for underserved children in developing countries. However, at present there are no consistent guidelines for volunteer groups in plastic surgery seeking to provide high-quality and safe care.
With these quality and safety standards in mind, in 2006, the Volunteers in Plastic Surgery Committee of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons/Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation undertook a project to develop a detailed set of guidelines for volunteer groups from developed countries seeking to provide plastic surgery services to children in developing countries. To make the guidelines include both surgical and anesthetic needs, they were developed in conjunction with the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia.
Guidelines for the delivery of plastic surgery care by volunteer groups to developing countries have been reviewed and approved by the boards of both organizations (the American Society of Plastic Surgeons/Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation and the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia). These include guidelines for the initial site visit, site and patient selection, staff and equipment that should be available, and procedures that can be safely performed based on the site and available facilities. Guidelines for assessment of outcomes, dealing with adverse outcomes, and quality improvement are also provided.
Any plastic surgery group undertaking an international mission trip should be able to go to one source to find a detailed discussion of the perceived needs in providing high-quality, safe care for children. The present document was created to satisfy this need.