World Journal of Endocrine Surgery

Register      Login

VOLUME 8 , ISSUE 2 ( May-August, 2016 ) > List of Articles


Pay It forward: Strategies for Successful Implementation of Short-term Endocrine Surgical Mission

Kristin L Long, Mark Cohen, Nancy Perrier

Citation Information : Long KL, Cohen M, Perrier N. Pay It forward: Strategies for Successful Implementation of Short-term Endocrine Surgical Mission. World J Endoc Surg 2016; 8 (2):137-140.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10002-1177

Published Online: 01-04-2009

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2016; The Author(s).



With increasing interest in humanitarian surgical efforts, numerous opportunities for specialized mission trips have developed. Extreme short-term surgical “blitzes” of specialist teams have offered much-needed surgical care but lack efforts for patient continuity and local sustainability. We sought to define characteristics that aid in the long-term success of short-term international surgical missions to better apply this insight toward future dedicated humanitarian endocrine surgical efforts.

Materials and methods

A broad search engine review identified 1,954 reports of medical and surgical missions. One hundred and sixty-six of these abstracts involved surgical missions from 2009 to 2014 with 24 articles including details of specific mission trips. We identified factors deemed essential for improving patient care and affecting local infrastructure for longterm sustainability and included our prospective experience with an endocrine surgery-specific mission trip for comparison.


Of the 24 articles reviewed, missions went to Africa (9), North America (8), South America (5), and Asia (5). Factors for mission sustainability and success included the following: (a) ability to educate local physicians and trainees, (b) multiple return trips to the same location, and (c) formal pre-mission planning and site visits. Emerging interest is on optimizing patient outcomes and cost-effectiveness.


Short-term surgical missions require a local infrastructure for optimal patient outcomes. Sustainability hinges on education and involvement of local physicians and surgical trainees, pre-mission planning, and return trips to the same location. For endocrine surgical missions, preoperative evaluation and postoperative follow-up by the operating surgeon is important for optimizing performance and outcomes.

How to cite this article

Long KL, Cohen M, Perrier N. Pay It forward: Strategies for Successful Implementation of Short-term Endocrine Surgical Mission. World J Endoc Surg 2016;8(2):137-140.

PDF Share
  1. Surgery and global health: a view from beyond the OR. World J Surg 2008 Apr;32(4):533-536.
  2. Cost-effectiveness of surgery in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review. World J Surg 2014 Jan;38(1):252-263.
  3. Essential surgery: key messages from disease control priorities, 3rd ed. Lancet 2015 May;385(9983):2209-2219.
  4. Effectiveness of international surgical program model to build local sustainability. Plast Surg Int 2012;2012:185725.
  5. Surgeons without borders: a brief history of surgery at Médecins Sans Frontières. World J Surg 2010 Mar;34(3):411-414.
  6. The impact of surgical volume on patient outcomes following thyroid surgery. Surgery 2013 Dec;154(6):1346-1352.
  7. A model for university-based international plastic surgery collaboration builds local sustainability. Ann Plast Surg 2015 Apr;74(4):388-391.
  8. Surgical mission planning in the developing world. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2013 Dec;42(12):1587-1591.
  9. Padova Hospitale Onlus: report of a 15-year experience in surgical and medical assistance in developing countries. Ann Plast Surg 2013 Jul;71(1):6-9.
  10. Guidelines for surgeons on establishing projects in low-income countries. World J Surg 2013 Jun;37(6):1203-1207.
  11. The Kenya orthopaedic project: surgical outcomes of a travelling multidisciplinary team. J Bone Joint Surg Br 2012 Dec;94(12):1591-1594.
  12. Short-term surgical missions make a difference: a life-changing case in Ibi, Nigeria. Bull Am Coll Surg 2012 Nov;97(11):31-35.
  13. Success and failure for children born with facial clefts in Africa: a 15-year follow-up. World J Surg 2012 Aug;36(8):1963-1969.
  14. Facial reconstruction in the developing world: a complicated matter. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2011 Jun;49(4):292-296.
  15. Promoting major pediatric surgical care in a low-income country: a 4-year experience in Eritrea. World J Surg 2011 Apr;35(4):760-766.
  16. Concerns for an itinerant surgeon: results of a Guatemalan surgical aid trip. J Arthroplasty 2014 May;29(5):861-866.
  17. Promoting volunteerism in global health: lessons from a medical mission in Northern Mexico. J Community Health 2013 Apr;38(2):374-384.
  18. Organizing a dermatology service mission. Int J Dermatol 2013 Mar;52(3):342-349.
  19. Volunteer orthopedic surgical trips in Nicaragua: a cost-effectiveness evaluation. World J Surg 2012 Dec;36(12):2801-2808.
  20. A 7-year review of the safety of tonsillectomy during short-term medical mission trips. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2012 May;146(5):752-756.
  21. Continuing promise 2009 – assessment of a recent pediatric surgical humanitarian mission. J Pediatr Surg 2012 Apr;47(4):652-657.
  22. Surgical relief work in Haiti: a practical resident learning experience. J Surg Educ 2011 May-Jun;68(3):213-217.
  23. Medical student surgery elective in rural Haiti: a novel approach to satisfying clerkship requirements while providing surgical care to an underserved population. World J Surg 2011 Apr;35(4):739-744.
  24. Volunteer cleft surgery in Colombia: an 18-year experience. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2013 Oct;71(10):1742-1751.
  25. Targeted neurosurgical outreach: 5-year follow-up of operative skill transfer and sustainable care in Lima, Peru. Childs Nerv Syst 2012 Aug;28(8):1227-1231.
  26. Humanitarian cardiac care in Arequipa Peru: experiences of a multidisciplinary Canadian cardiovascular team. Can J Surg 2012 Jun;55(3):171-176.
  27. Establishing sustainable international burn missions: lessons from India. Ann Plast Surg 2013 Jul;71(1):31-33.
  28. Is international volunteer surgery for cleft lip and cleft palate a cost-effective and justifiable intervention? A case study. World J Surg 2012 Dec;36(12):2819-2830.
  29. Cardiac surgery in the Pacific Islands. ANZ J Surg 2011 Dec;81(12):871-875.
  30. Craniofacial/neurosurgery: a multidisciplinary approach to the repair of meningoencephaloceles in a third world country. J Neurosci Nurs 2011 Aug;43(4):E6-E9.
  31. Charitable platforms in global surgery: a systematic review of their effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and role training. World J Surg 2015 Jan;39(1):10-20.
  32. A prospective analysis of thyroidectomy outcomes in a resource-limited setting. World J Surg 2015 Jul;39(7):1708-1711.
  33. Need for an individualized and aggressive management of multinodular goiters of endemic zones by specially trained surgeons: experience in Western Nepal. World J Surg 2006 Dec;30(12):2101-2109.
  34. Available from:
PDF Share
PDF Share

© Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) LTD.