Since 1969, ReSurge International (formerly Interplast) has restored the
health and dreams of children and adults with deformities and injuries through reconstructive surgical care. We also build surgical
capacity in underserved areas to increase year-round access to surgical care.
ReSurge helps reduce global suffering and poverty by giving patients a second chance at a productive life.
To learn more about the impact of our work, check out our interactive annual report:
Increasing Access to Care
Millions of poor children around the world have no access to basic medical
care, let alone the reconstructive plastic surgery they need to lead normal,
productive lives. Children with congenital deformities, like cleft lips or palates,
are often ostracized from their communities and denied an education simply
because they look or speak differently. Accident victims, many burn-related,
also endure a lifetime of suffering and disability for the simple reason that
they have no access to the surgeries that would give them back the use
of their hands or the freedom to move their limbs or improve their physical
appearance. The sad and startling fact is that fewer than 10 percent of disabled
children in the developing world attend school.
Few plastic surgeons are available to perform the needed surgeries in the
developing world. In Zambia, for instance, a country of 12.6 million people,
there is only one plastic surgeon. Additionally, poor families just can’t afford
the medical help their children require. By contrast, in the United States, most
families—even those without health insurance—have access to immediate
medical attention and the kind of surgical intervention that can make a critical
difference in their children’s lives.
ReSurge International builds sustainable surgical capacity where it previously
did not exist by training, supporting and empowering Global South doctors.
Now, in 10 Surgical Outreach Programs in eight countries, impoverished
patients receive the surgical care they need year-round. Three thousand
surgeries are performed in these centers each year. In seven other countries,
we send volunteer visiting educators and volunteer surgical teams, performing
additional surgeries and more importantly, educating and empowering local
surgeons so that they can perform surgeries on their own for generations to
Few realize that disabled people are the world’s largest minority, and 80
percent live in developing countries. One cause of disability in the Global
South is severe burn injuries. Worldwide, such injuries from fires leave
its victims with disabilities that cost $80.2 billion a year in lost productivity
(wages and skills) alone and almost all (95 percent) of that economic burden
occurs in developing countries. Clefts and other congenital deformities add
to the loss of productivity because few people with those conditions are
accepted and allowed to go to school or work in the Global South.
the prejudices against them and others with disabilities continue to be
widespread and they are not allowed to take their rightful place in society.
Reconstructive surgery restores bodies so that they can rejoin their
communities after being shunned for their disfigurements and disabilities.
It renews their dreams of going to school and providing for their families. It
rebuilds their futures and gives them a second chance for productive lives.
Reconstructive surgery can make the difference of a lifetime, often with just a
few hours of surgery. The result is permanent, immediate and dramatic. The
lives of children with deformities improve, and as
they do, so do the lives of their parents, who also were spurned because of
the deformities of their children or forced not to work because someone had
to stay home to care for their disfigured child.
Men and women who were
disabled because of tragic burns and other accidents are given a second
chance through surgery and with it, the ability to work and support their
families again. The impact continues to ripple through their communities
and, indeed, through their countries, as more and more citizens are able to
contribute to society.
By providing nearly 5,000 surgeries each year, ReSurge International restores
productivity and hope; moreover, approximately 9 million sick days are not
taken because patients are now able to go to school or to work. This in turn
helps the developing countries where we work recover more than $75 million
in lost wages over the lifetimes of those patients who will now be able to
Need and Impact by the Numbers
Number of women worldwide severely burned each year: 3.8 million;
Number of women worldwide who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS
annually: 3.8 million
Chances a child will be born with a cleft lip or palate: 1 in 700
Percentage of disabled children in developing countries who attend
Percentage of all severe burns worldwide that happen in developing
Number of people severely burned by fire in India every
Number of plastic surgeons in Sri Lanka: 6; in Zambia: 1; Mali: 0
Number of hand surgeons in Nepal: 1; in Bolivia: 3
Percentage of population living on less than a $1.25 a day in Zambia:
64; in the five countries where the majority of our work takes place: 47
Per capita annual expenditure on health care in Nepal: $12; in the
United States: $5,274
Number of life-changing surgeries provided by ReSurge each year:
Number of sick days not taken because those treated patients are
now able to go to school and work: 9 million. Amount of lost wages
recovered, and helping the economies of developing countries, over the
lifetimes of those patients who will now be able to work: $75 million
Number of ReSurge surgeries provided for patients since