Magazine article USA TODAY

Plastic Surgeons on Front Lines in Iraq

Magazine article USA TODAY

Plastic Surgeons on Front Lines in Iraq

Article excerpt

When most people think of plastic surgeons, they imagine facelifts, liposuction, and tummy tucks--but ask a soldier injured in Iraq and he or she will tell a different story, relates the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Arlington Heights, Ill.

"As plastic surgeons, we use our general surgery training to help treat initial trauma in the field to save the patient's life or limb. From there, they are transferred to Germany to help them stabilize, clear the infection, and allow the wound to [start to] heal," says ASPS member surgeon Lieut. Col. Andrew Friedman, who has commanded a forward deployed surgical team while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Back in the United States, however, we are using our plastic surgery training to reconstruct soldiers' injuries, close the wounds, and help them feel whole again."

Plastic surgeons work alongside other surgeons and physicians in combat support hospitals to address the immediate needs of the injured. Because of the severity of many war wounds, plastic surgery is not performed in the field. …

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