LSU Health Shreveport physicians perform cutting-edge surgery

Dr. Fawaz Alotaibi, DDS, Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Dr. Celso Palmieri Jr., DDS, Associate Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, performed the first microvascular surgery at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria on October 6, 2021. Microvascular reconstructive surgery is one of the most advanced options in restoring facial form and function following the removal of facial or oral tumors.  The blood vessels are reconnected to vessels around the facial defect under a microscope using sutures smaller than a human hair.

The 12-hour surgery included a tracheostomy, right mandible resection, nerve graft, and a left fibula free flap to reconstruct the right mandible with microvascular anastomoses. The surgery provided an outstanding training opportunity for two Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residents (Samantha Hirt, DMD, MD, PGY4, and Dr. Nathan Yang, DDS, MD, PGY6) who assisted with the procedure.

 “It was our pleasure to serve our patients and community at Rapides Regional Medical Center. I thank the LSU Health Shreveport OMFS team and Rapides Regional Medical Center for their outstanding work to make it happen. Great preparation resulted in a very successful outcome,” stated Dr. Alotaibi, who was the lead surgeon.

This cutting-edge surgery reflects the important role of LSU Health Shreveport as an academic medical center as it brings new procedures throughout north and central Louisiana while training future medical professionals in medically complex procedures.

“The microvascular surgery was truly a historic day for Rapides Regional Medical Center,” said RRMC Chief Nursing Officer Barbara Grffin, MSN, RN, NE-BC. “It was also a great example of the team effort we’re known for, with surgery, anesthesiology, trauma, critical care, respiratory therapy, medical staff and so many others all playing major roles in the care and recovery of the patient.

“Thanks to Dr. Alotaibi and everyone involved in the LSU Health OMFS Clinic, more of these surgeries now can take place at Rapides Regional Medical Center, providing much-needed care to patients here in Central Louisiana.

The LSU Health OMFS Clinic at Rapides Regional Medical Center opened in June 2015.