Volunteering: One Surgeon's Dedication and Enthusiasm | Orthopedics This Week

Volunteering: One Surgeon’s Dedication and Enthusiasm

Asif M. Ilyas, M.D., FACS / Courtesy of Rothman Institute

Grateful for all the support he has received throughout his education and training, Asif M. Ilyas, M.D., FACS, an orthopedic surgeon and program director of the Hand Surgery Fellowship at the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, believes strongly in paying it forward. That’s why he spent a week this fall volunteering his expertise in hand and orthopedic trauma surgery at a teaching hospital and medical university in Pakistan.

He told OTW, “I feel that here in America we are privileged to have the highest quality of care at almost every level of society, but unfortunately that ready access to care is not universal throughout the world. As such, I want to do my little part to help in that.”

Ilyas has also made several trips overseas to Haiti and India. He spends a week or two each year bringing hope and healing to those who need it the most. His work typically involves acute fracture work and chronic trauma reconstruction cases including malunions and nonunions.

“The other area I concentrate on is upper extremity reconstructive cases involving tendon transfers and reconstructions for chronic nerve injuries such as the brachial plexus,” he added.

“There is an astounding amount of need overseas for orthopaedic care. Moreover, there is a huge disparity within the population of less developed countries to access to general orthopaedic care. The majority of orthopaedic care needs revolve around acute and chronic fracture care. Other common problems encountered are limited resource to manage chronic traumatic nerve injuries and wounds,” he said.

This work also reminds Ilyas of why he went into medicine in the first place. He said, “In our daily lives of busy office schedules, busy OR responsibilities and family commitments, we can often forget why we do what we do and how amazing it is to be able to positively affect people’s lives in such enormous ways.”

For Ilyas, working with the local staff while on these trips is also an important part of his mission. He explained that because medical and surgical training is not as formalized in other parts of the world as it is in the United States, the staff is always hungry to learn so he makes sure to spend time with them lecturing on topics of their interest or need.


3 thoughts on “Volunteering: One Surgeon’s Dedication and Enthusiasm

  1. Thank you for your efforts. Dr Asif Illays.
    Great and commendable work .
    Life changing no doubt.

    As an individual who has gone through the ringer, so to speak, due to a severe brachial plexus injury, I discovered the long hard way how difficult it is to find adequately informed or trained physicians to handle this type of injury here in the United States. Even the most respected hospitals and surgeons are not familiar with available procedures and treatments, leaving little but amputation as an option for the injured patient. Luckily this is changing due to the information age we live in, the power of the internet, filmmakers, and remarkable doctors like Dr Ilyas.

    Thank you all for all you do.

    most grateful,

    Christopher Janney

    United Brachial Plexus Network


    Here’s a life changing documentary featuring a handful of paralysed individuals all being told the usual “wait and see” by the best available neurosurgeons (only the experienced patient knows orthopedic surgeons can do neurosurgery too!), then finally fortunately finding and receiving best possible treatment:


    and here’s the information age at it’s best…
    innovative surgical procedures dealing with the Peripheral Nerve Injuries, Brachial Plexus Injuries, and more:


  2. Dr. Ilyas has been my hand surgeon for about 5 years now. He is the most knowledgeable and caring surgeon I have ever come in contact with. Thanks Dr for taking such good care of me!

  3. Dr. Ilyas found my very advanced RA, when none of my other doctors did. I feel totally indebted to him, and have so much gratitude. Plus, he gives a great cortisone injection to the hand, if you can believe that! Thank you Dr. Ilyas!

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