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USM to set up Malaysia's first Craniofacial Surgery Excellence Centre

With cooperation with the Australian Cranio-Maxillo Facial Foundation, University Science Malaysia (USM) offers hope to local patients with facial and skull deformities.


University Science Malaysia (USM) plans to offer specialist surgery to patients born with facial and skull deformities.

This follows USM's move to transfer craniofacial technology into the country -- through training programmes and by sending students to Australia, a country well known for its excellence in the craniofacial field.

In line with the effort, USM is in the midst of planning to establish the country's first Craniofacial Surgery Excellence Centre.

USM Medical Science Faculty lecturer, Dr. Zainul Ahmad Rajion said, facial and skull anomalies or the scientific term Cranio-facial deformity -- happened when a baby's head and skull is not join appropriately when it is born.

He said the joining stage happened early during pregnancy and would caused deformity in a baby's physical look. For instance, a smaller head compared to normal babies.

The abnormality, according to Dr. Zainul, could be due to genetic or environment such as crouzon syndrome, apert syndrome dan hemifacial microsomia.

“Prior to this, the method used to treat and operate patients with such deformity, could only be found in Australia with the help of craniofacial specialists there,” he explained.

But he said, patients would have to bear exorbitant costs, of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dr. Zainul said, the Australian Cranio-Maxillo Facial Foundation (ACMFF), based in Adelaide and chaired by David J. David is among the best specialists to give a new life to those with facial and skull deformities.

He added that USM was fortunate enough to foster cooperation with ACMFF three years ago and at this stage, USM has been given the opportunity to transfer the know-how to Malaysia, through ways mutually agreed.

“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding today (April 23, 2008) to implement various training programmes and joint research with ACMFF.

“Through this close cooperation between USM and ACMFF, USM will try its best to provide a new life to patients with facial and skull deformities in this country,” he explained.

Dr. Zainul has been in Australia for two years to improve his craniofacial surgery skills and is a pioneer in establishing the fraternity in Malaysia.

On future plans, he said : “We will form a team of specialist doctors covering the various fields of plastic surgery, neurology, eye, ear and others – to provide the best service to the people.

“In Malaysia, there is no such team. We have various specialist doctors but they operate separately and according to their own capacity.

“In future, the new team will work to gether to give specialized operation to each patient,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prof. Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said, USM was fortunate to be given an opportunity to cooperate with ACMFF particularly in preparing a specialist work force for the people, in the field of craniofacial.

He added that USM hopes to expand this help to local communities around the world.

“Through the MoU, we aim to upgrade our achievement and set up a medical specialist unit to help those in need,” he said.

Mohamad Abdullah | ResearchSEA
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