The mission of  Reconstructive Surgery and Transmission of Operative Resources and Education to Central America (RESTORE) is to build sustainable surgical capabilities in resource-limited hospitals in Central America through a combination of education and volunteer efforts.

The foundation of RESTORE began in 2011 through humanitarian work done as part of medical readiness missions in the US Army at Hospital Escuela in Tegulcigalpa, Honduras. Joseph R. Hsu, MD, orthopedic trauma surgeon at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Carolinas Medical Center, is the founder and director of RESTORE. Dr. Hsu trained in advanced limb reconstruction techniques in Lecco, Italy and Kurgan, Russia utilizing the Ilizarov Method of bone regeneration, to lengthen or reshape bone and soft tissue.

“It is important that hospitals in Central America are equipped with the resources and expertise necessary to treat the high number of injuries, and chronic conditions resulting from these injuries, that they witness on a regular basis,” said Dr. Hsu. “I am hopeful that our efforts with RESTORE will make an impactful difference in the treatment and long-term recovery of these patients, but more importantly, in expanding the surgical capabilities of the local surgeons and hospital.”

Kevin L. Kirk, DO is the co-founder and deputy director of RESTORE. Dr. Kirk is a Foot and Ankle Surgeon in the United States with extensive limb reconstruction experience from the US Army during the Global War on Terror.

Both Drs. Hsu and Kirk drew their inspiration to begin this work in Central America from their experiences helping injured civilians and nationals during their deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006. Subsequently, humanitarian missions to Honduras provided the framework to build a sustainable program in a resource-limited community hospital in Central America. Dr. Mirna Ochoa, a local surgeon in Tegucigalpa, was trained on limb reconstruction techniques and is now able to conduct patient follow-up and sustainment, as well as subsequent surgeries. Additionally, a family practice physician in Tegucigalpa is responsible for coordinating each mission and overall sustainment operations.

Hospital Escuela is a 1,216 bed community hospital and trauma center in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Congested roadways and violent crime have led to an overwhelming volume of traumatic injuries. Hospital Escuela sees about 25,000 traumatic injuries a year and has approximately 15,000 trauma admissions per year. The hospital serves as the national referral hospital for Honduras, which has a population of 8.5 million people.

Over the course of the next two years, RESTORE plans to increase surgical missions to 2 or 3 times per year. During this same timeframe, resource sharing and training is planned with anesthesia services. Within the next five years, RESTORE plans to include fellowship opportunities for surgeons from Central America to train in the United States on advanced, sustainable surgical techniques.