The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) launched the Faces of Honor program to connect military service members and veterans with facial plastic surgeons.
The purpose is to provide pro bono medical and surgical expertise to those who were deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan and received face or neck injuries. It is a way to say thank you to the brave men and women who have served our country so well by offering them the skills and surgical adroitness of caring physicians.
There are three eligibility considerations. The military service member or veteran:
- Must have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), including the middle east with honorable discharge
- Must have sustained a war related face, head or neck injury, either in combat or through combat related support activity
- Must be a member of the United States Armed Forces (or Department of Defense eligible NATO/coalition forces) either active duty, or active reserve (activated and deployed in support of OIF or OEF).
Surgeries that veterans might receive include repairing breathing-related issues from nasal injuries, scar revision, skin grafting, lip reconstruction, hair restoration related to scalp burns, and reconstructive cheekbone or jawbone surgery. Some veterans may have already received treatment in a military hospital while on active duty and may have been discharged.
Others may have relocated to their home base and remain on active duty, being cared for by a Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility. Several veterans may be from the National Guard or reserve, geographically separated from a VA facility, or just looking for an additional caregiver consultation. The volunteer surgeons are offering to help compliment the care that these facilities and medical staff provide, not trying to compete with it. The AAFPRS seeks to help eligible veterans find a qualified surgeon with the best-matched skills and hopefully in a fairly convenient location.
The AAFPRS was founded in 1974 and represents over 2,700 facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons throughout the world. In 1990, the humanitarian program, FACE TO FACE, was created.
Internationally, FACE TO FACE provides humanitarian assistance primarily to children suffering from facial deformities caused by birth or by trauma. Here at home, FACE TO FACE’s National Domestic Violence Project assists survivors of domestic violence through pro bono surgery, enhancing their self-esteem and aiding them in rebuilding their lives. In 2009, Faces of Honor, will be another way facial plastic surgeons can give back to their community, and in particular, reiterate their sincere gratitude to the service men and women and their families for their sacrifices.
If you know of a service member or veteran that may be interested or eligible, let them know about the program or have them visit https://www.aafprs.org/face-to-face/faces-of-honor/