After 18 months of Covid restrictions, Rotaplast returns, cautiously, to international service work. On Wednesday, November 3rd, a carefully selected, fully vaccinated team, joined up at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and proceeded to Monterrey, Mexico for a brief five-day mission. The mission was in collaboration with another cleft lip and palate organization, Casa Azul, who became known to Rotaplast in a very serendipitous manner earlier in the year.

Casa Azul was founded by Dr. Ricardo Elizono, an orthodontist, practicing in Monterrey. Celebrating its 18th year, Casa Azul is responsible for nearly 2000 children having restorative surgery to repair their cleft lips, palates, and other facial deformities. Casa Azul operates a year-round multidisciplinary clinic in Monterrey, where children are evaluated for a variety of dental, orthodontic, ENT and cleft deformities. They also incorporate a very comprehensive speech assessment and treatment program, giving patients full opportunity to gain optimal speech functionality after palate correcting surgery.

Casa Azul schedules a four-to-five-day surgical mission every six to eight weeks, utilizing Practi-Med Hospital, a very small, private facility in the heart of Monterrey. Dr. Silverio Tovar, a very skilled plastic surgeon from Mexico City, has joined Casa Azul for every mission since its 18-year inception. He, along with a local anesthesiologist, plastic surgery residents, medical students, and a great nursing staff from Practi-Med Hospital, have yielded tremendous results.

In June, Dr. Anne Delaney and Mission Director Randy Floyd traveled to Monterrey to meet with Dr. Elizondo and, to observe one of their missions. Dr. Delaney had opportunity to assist in many surgeries and together the two Rotaplast board members were able to assess Casa Azul’s techniques and methods, and to have opportunity to discuss a collaboration between the two organizations. As a result, Rotaplast was invited and encouraged to send a team to assist with the hope of forging a long-term partnership that would result in securing opportunity for more children to have surgery to correct their cleft lip and / or palate.

The team that came to assist Casa Azul, and to participate in the first mission of its kind for Rotaplast, were as follows:

Angelo Capozzi, MD – Rotaplast Co-founder and surgeon
Anne Delaney, MD – surgeon
Alex McCulloch, MD – surgeon
Neal Fleming, MD – anesthesia
Ross Bakhtari, MD – anesthesia
David Rowen, CRNA – anesthesia
Bryan Stamm, MD -pediatrician
Paula Fillari, RN – recovery
Marlene Salas-Provance, PhD, CCC/SLP – speech pathology
Randy Floyd – Mission Director

The Rotaplast team after arriving in Monterrey. Note that there are not the 35 boxes typically taken on a mission