17 December 2021 (Last updated: 17 Dec 2021 12:05)
“As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery…
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations…
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for…
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.”
Our journey was an amazing one, as K. Kavafis portrays in his poetry.
In 2021, the British Society for Surgery of the Hand gave birth to the first European International Visiting Fellowship and we had the great honour of being selected for it. With only four seats, it was a prestigious but also enriching experience, meant for showing the high standards of treatment in the United Kingdom and leaving a cultural heritage which the fellows can put into practice once back home in their respective countries.
The fellowship began on Wednesday 25 August at the Pulvertaft Hand Centre of the Royal Derby Hospital, where we were greeted by Miss Jill Arrowsmith with a warm and sincere smile. The daily schedule was very busy there: the incredible theatre list (total wrist replacement, ulna prosthesis, L. Scheker prosthesis, metacarpophalangeal joint arthroplasties) was carefully studied and planned in advance by Mr Carlos Heras-Palou, eclectic surgeon really fond of Hand Surgery, and followed by educational conferences with contributions from Prof. Tommy Lindau, Prof. Chris Bainbridge, residents and fellows. All were gracious hosts, treating us to sumptuous dinners and guided trips of local attractions; our stay in Derby ended with a delightful lunch at Miss Mary O’Brien’s home with the hand fellows and her family.
On Tuesday 31 August, our journey continued at the Manchester Hand Centre of the Wythenshawe Hospital with our host Mr Anuj Mishra – a kind and talented surgeon who showed us the importance of working with passion.
A detailed timetable was arranged in order to let us appreciate the surgical operations and then discuss them: thoracic outlet syndrome and nerve transfers performed by Mr Anuj Mishra and Mr Sanil Ajwani, brachial plexus schwannoma resection by Mr Christopher Duff, wrist pathologies by Miss Vivien Lees and pediatric surgeries by Mr James Bedford. During the evenings in Manchester, the experience was seasoned with local beers and spicy Indian food in the lovely company of the entire Unit.
On Friday 3 September, at the Oxford Hand and Wrist Unit of the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, we were again engaged by an outstanding group of committed surgeons. The very first day, Mr Nicholas Riley and Mr Henk Giele amazed us with their novel technique for the treatment of proximal scaphoid non-union with a coracoid vascularized bone flap. This was followed by Mr Ian McNab performing a Zaidemberg’s pedicled bone graft. We were impressed not only by the surgical skills of these people but also by their kindness. Mr Chris Little was the friend and mentor we all would wish to have: the teachings in the theatre were followed by fine wine tastings and team dinners at his home after work.
On Wednesday 8 September the BSSH Autumn meeting began, we had the great privilege and honour of attending it in the renowned examination college of the University of Oxford. We were humbled to be introduced to the whole society by the BSSH President, Miss Sue Fullilove.
We wish to thank the BSSH, Miss Sue Fullilove, Mr Hywel Dafydd and Miss Charlotte Smith for their kindness but also their impeccable, flawless organization. Moreover, we wish to express our profound gratitude for such a singular opportunity to both learn and experience Britain as part of the 2021 BSSH International Traveling Fellowship.
We also wish to thank the wonderful teams of Derby, Manchester and Oxford, who hosted us and showed us the highlights of their practice and teachings.
It was a marvelous journey and we all went back to our respective countries enriched with new ideas and many new friends who we hope to remain in contact with for the rest of our lives.
With warm regards,
Ms Anne Perruisseau-Carrier
Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery Department, Brest University Hospital, France
Dr. David Brogan
Orthopedic Hand and Microsurgery, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Mr Filippo Pantaleoni
Hand Surgery and Microsurgery Department, University Hospital of Modena, Italy
Mr Sergi Alabau Rodríguez
Hand, Elbow and Microsurgery Unit. ICATME. Quiron-Dexeus University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain.
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