How We Work
Surgery Weekends provide a fresh start to disadvantaged infants, children, and teens suffering from physical deformities. As a kids charity, Fresh Start hosts six to seven Surgery Weekends each year where experts in reconstructive surgery donate their time and talents to transform the lives of over 400 children with deformities annually – last year, Fresh Start’s Surgery Weekend Program provided 1,473 medical treatments to 397 patients.
Fresh Start’s one-of-a-kind comprehensive and holistic healthcare program includes reconstructive surgeries, Laser Clinics, a Speech Therapy Clinic, and Dental Clinics – all of our complimentary medical treatments are provided to patients during the interim between Surgery Weekends, on the Sunday of a Surgery Weekend, or during a scheduled Dental Clinic. To learn more about our complementary services, view theDental Clinic or Support Services page.
Medical treatments are provided at the Fresh Start Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego by an all-volunteer team of surgeons and medical professionals. Some of the conditions treated by child cosmetic surgery include: Microtia, Hemangioma, Neurofibromatosis, Hairy Nevus, Cleft lip and Cleft palate, Treacher Collins Syndrome, Portwine stains, and Hemifacial Microsomia. A typical Surgery Weekend includes:
» 9-12 Major Surgeries
» Speech Therapy Sessions
» Consultations with new patients
» Numerous Minor Treatments
» Evaluations of on-going patients
» Postoperative Appointments
Fresh Start patients often require extensive follow up and years of surgeries and medical services until the best medical outcome has been reached. Fresh Start maintains long-term medical relationships with patients and follow-up surgeries – our average cleft lip and palate patient, for example, requires seven years of dental care and approximately 49 treatments until the best possible medical outcome has been reached.
Dental Clinics provide restorative and orthodontic dental care as well as preventative dental education to disadvantaged infants, children, and teens from around the world. Dental Clinics, held 13 times per year, treat approximately 25-30 children at each Clinic and are held at the offices of local, San Diego dentists who volunteer both their time and their facility.
As with all of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts’ services, the Dental Clinics work hand-in-hand with Surgery Weekends and other medical support services – the majority of the patients that are treated at the Dental Clinics also receive reconstructive surgeries and other medical treatments through Fresh Start Surgical Gifts.
Restorative Dental Clinics provide dental hygiene, fillings, and other, more basic, dental care to our patients. The Restorative Clinics also work with the Orthodontic Clinics to ensure that each patient is maintaining proper dental hygiene.
Orthodontic Dental Clinics help correct dentofacial abnormalities for patients with hemifacial microsomia, children with cleft lip and palate, and other deformities. An orthodontic dental service, such as a gum tissue graft for children, is often the final step in a lengthy process of surgeries and other medical treatments for many of our patients.
Preventative Care/Dental Education
All of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts’ patients receive education on proper dental hygiene as part of a comprehensive approach to healthcare. Proper cleaning and maintenance of the teeth and surrounding area is especially important for cleft lip and palate patients and we make sure to give these patients special attention. Also, Fresh Start Surgical Gifts provides pamphlets, floss, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other dental hygiene equipment for all patients.
Fresh Start Surgical Gifts’ comprehensive approach to healthcare goes beyond just reconstructive surgeries to treat children with deformities and other conditions – we offer a range of services to ensure that every child receives high quality, personalized care. The majority of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts’ patients participate in almost all of the medical services we offer since deformities affect mutiple aspects of every patient.
Speech Therapy services allow children afflicted with craniofacial disorders, such as cleft lip and palate, to regain their ability to speak audibly and correctly. Approximately 30 patients each year receive speech therapy services which grant them the confidence and motivation to accomplish their goals and lead a happy and healthy life.
Laser Clinics treat approximately 84 infants, children, and teens each year who suffer from deformities such as port wine stain and burns – laser treatments also significantly reduce the appearance of scars created by reconstructive surgery. Many of our patients who receive laser treatments walk away from their experience with renewed confidence and self-esteem.
Transportation and Lodging
Since all medical treatments are provided in San Diego, CA, either at the Fresh Start Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital or at the office of a volunteer dentist or other medical professional, Fresh Start can arrange for transportation, lodging, and meals for patients from outside of San Diego. While many organizations helping children may utilize a mobile clinic or go abroad to treat children from remote areas, at Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, we bring patients to San Diego in order to ensure sanitary operating rooms, easily available and high-quality equipment, and to have the resources to bring in a specialist for especially complex or rare conditions.