MidAmerica Plastic Surgery: Ryan Diederich, MD
4955 South State Route 159 #1
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
(618) 288-7855
Monday & Wednesday: 7 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.–12 p.m.

The Spa at MidAmerica Plastic Surgery
4955 South State Route 159 #1
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
(618) 307-6233
Monday–Tuesday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Wednesday–Thursday: 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

Operation Smile

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Dr. Ryan Diederich of MidAmerica Plastic Surgery was honored to be a part of Operation Smile’s Mission to Nakuru, Kenya in April, 2011.  Below is a newscast of the trip.


Africa, a land of beauty.

A land of life.

A land of need.

As the world’s second largest continent with more than half the population living below the poverty line, life is hard.

But for the hundreds of children who will receive operations in the coming weeks, life is about to get better.

“I think if that was my child, I would want people like Operation Smile to come and do that for me.”

Posters plastered around the city announce the arrival of the Operation Smile team.

Doctors, nurses, surgeons, and child life specialists work with a local Kenyan medical team to treat children with cleft lip and cleft palate; procedures considered simple, even routine in the U.S.

As they arrive at Rift Valley General Hospital in Nakuru, the situation immediately unfolds.

Space is small. For the first two days, screening will happen in a very cramped seven room building.

Hundreds line up early for their chance to see the American doctors.

“People that are transporting children, that are finding medications for us, that are making sure paperwork is going properly, making sure all the pictures get taken, collated, and put into the charts properly. And everybody has a job. And there are so many pieces to the puzzle that if you’re missing a piece, the puzzle is not complete.”

Some children would be sent home; too small, weak, or sick to withstand the strain of surgery.

But most leave already smiling, at the chance of a new look and a new life.

To really understand the impact this opportunity will be for the hundreds of children, all you have to do is look in the eyes of just one.

Like 18 month old Onesmus. His mother is a farmer, his father a shopkeeper. They want their baby to grow up smart.

With 20 year old Ediqwam, who traveled for days by foot from the far borders of Sudan. Kicked out of school for his facial deformity, Ediqwam wants a chance to learn and to be accepted.

But it was 14 year old Solemaeqduo who caught our ear and our heart.

A beautiful girl. An aspiring pilot and singer, she wants doctors to fix her lip so she can sing praises to her Lord.

Surgeon Dan Sellars declared Solemae a perfect surgery candidate.

“Its just an amazing thing that in such a short time you can take somebody who has lived with this for 14 years and make them whole essentially. Make them just fit right back into all their society, and no pointing fingers and no looking. Is that right? Do people tease you sometimes? Yeah, well let’s fix that, okay?”

Surgery day: Solemae’s mother waits anxiously outside the operating room putting her trust in the delicate hands of strangers.

After 35 minutes, the procedure is done. Solemae’s mother is brought into the recovery room to see her daughter for the very first time. She peers eagerly around the nurse’s shoulder for a look, when her eyes finally rest on her daughter’s near perfect mouth.

She immediately bows her head and begins to pray.

“These visions are from the heart, you know, they’re not from your head. They just wrench at your heart. Once you’ve gone on a mission, it’s hard not to keep going on a mission. So, even though you might see a couple of children, or twenty children, or thirty children, you know that there are hundreds of thousands of children left to help.”