by Jacob G. Unger, MD
We had the distinct privilege of having Dr. Fu Chan Wei as our visiting professor this past week at UT Southwestern. To ensure that we could learn as much as possible from this very special visit, we set up as many learning opportunities as we could.
We started with a dinner attended by our faculty and senior residents where we had the opportunity to show Dr. Wei a bona fide Texas Steakhouse and had the chance to ask him questions in a small group setting about surgical technique of course, but also about life and differences between medicine in Taiwan versus the U.S. Over our excessively large, Texas-sized dinner, we also heard many stories about the history of Chang-Gung and its origins, including stories of Dr. Nordhoff, who also trained our chief of Craniofacial Surgery, Alex Kane.
The dinner was great, full of laughs and inquiries into Dr. Wei’s techniques for various flaps. This set the stage perfectly for the next morning.
We began the visiting professor day in earnest bright an early the next morning with multiple lectures by Dr. Wei about toe-to-thumb transfers, as well as other options for replacing lost digits with toes. The finesse of technique and incredible results obtained were eye-opening to the residents, but also quite daunting.
After impressing us with photos and video of these elegant surgeries we were able to all head down to the UTSW anatomy lab and watch and assist Dr. Wei with the dissection of the incredible flaps we had just been lectured on such as the trimmed Great-toe flap, the 2-3 Toe flap, and more standard flaps like the ALT and osteo-septo-cutaneous fibula flaps.
Dr. Wei assured all of us that now that we had learned about these intricate flaps and performed the dissections in the lab that we were ready to go out and offer them to our patients! While I’m not quite sure that we are all ready to tackle these difficult procedures and patients solo yet, we did learn a great deal and certainly now have a larger armamentarium of options to consider for the difficult situations that could necessitate these surgeries.
We then returned to the plastic surgery lecture hall to round out our fantastic day with more lectures and the opportunity to ask questions and consolidate our understanding of the cases from the lab. Dr. Wei was incredibly gracious and kind and we all felt very lucky to have had the chance to spend the day with him. We just hope he will come back soon to teach us again, and hopefully we will have some cases to show him as well!