Prof. Dr. med. Martin Lacher, founder of the Pediatric Surgery Foundation, traveled to Croatia as a member of a medical team to treat anorectal malformations.
A team of pediatric surgeons from Germany, the Netherlands and the USA worked in a hospital in Zagreb, Croatia from 27th to 31th of May 2016 to carry out complicated interventions on children. The list of malformations Martin Lacher and his colleageus operated on happened to be long. The children suffered from severe malformations of the urinary, reproductive and digestive tract, so that the bladder, vagina or rectum lacked a natural outlet or were misplaced.
The operations have given the opportunity to six children to live an almost normal life. Among other procedures, the team performed a complete reconstruction of the urinary system, vagina and rectum / anus - extremely demanding and difficult interventions, some of which lasted over 8 hours. In Zagreb, the team operated four children with a so-called "Cloacal Malformation", which had a shared body cavity for the reproductive organs, ureter and intestine. In addition, the doctors treated two children with Hirschsprung's disease - a rare condition in which neurons are missing in a final piece of the gut due to a disruption in embryonic development. The missing of neurons leads to contraction of the colon and holds the stool back from entering the rectum and anus. The intestinal contents accumulate in front of the section, the intestine expands. As a result, the child gets a "bloated stomach" and can ultimately die.
Previously, children suffering of this kind of anorectal malformations had to be transported for treatment from Croatia to other European countries or the United States respectively. Thanks to the advanced training that the specialized team has given to the local doctors the first step is taken to ensure that Croatian children can be cured on a higher level of care by local surgeons in the future.