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How ‘The Face Doctors’ help patients face the world

The incredible skills of an Addenbrooke’s prosthetist and three clinicians come into focus in the fourth episode of ‘The Face Doctors’ on Really at 9pm on Wednesday (5 June), also available to stream on discovery+.

Mrs Barbara Hilgier 600 x 900
Mrs Barbara Hilgier

Viewers will see Mrs Barbara Hilgier helping patient Leo who has become increasingly isolated since losing his left eye and a significant part of his face to cancer.

It’s down to Barbara, who is one of a team of three maxillofacial prosthetists who feature in the series, to use all her skills to try to help Leo face the world again with his young family.

Ms Kana Miyagi 600 x 400 in theatre
Ms Kana Miyagi

Meanwhile consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Ms Kana Miyagi, helps patient Holly. She was born with a cleft lip and palate which was repaired when she was a baby. However, after numerous surgeries she has one last thing she wishes to achieve - a straighter nose.

Kana is just the surgeon for the job, since she specialises in cleft lip and palate surgery, and paediatric plastic surgery, and has assisted in the transformation of a long list of patients from birth into adulthood.

Mr Adel Hemy in theatre
Mr Adel Hemy

Mr Adel Hemy is a consultant neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s. He has a special interest in head injury, skull base and vascular neurosurgery and has research interests in brain injury and inflammation.

He is filmed performing a cranioplasty on patient Andrew. It is the surgical repair of a bone defect in the skull left behind after a previous operation. Accuracy is key and the stakes high.

Registrar Ariyo Onafowokan
Registrar Ariyo Onafowokan

Registrar Ariyo Onafowokan is filmed treating Paolo, who has just come into A&E with a nasty laceration to his face. It follows an unprovoked attack with a bottle and Ariyo has to ensure the wound is perfectly clean before he begins a delicate repair to minimise scarring.

CUH medical director, Ashley Shaw, said:

Each of these thought-provoking episodes provides a fascinating snapshot into the daily lives of skilled hospital staff who train and work incredibly hard in their chosen professions

We are incredibly proud of what they do, and it is a great privilege to see the impact they have on not only the physical health of patients, but their emotional wellbeing too. For many, it is simply life-changing.

Dr Ashley Shaw

‘The Face Doctors’ consists of eight weekly episodes that follow the journeys of patients whose lives have been impacted as a result of flesh-eating infections, challenging genetic conditions, and life-changing traumas.

It is not just about fixing broken bodies, but restoring identities, mending confidence, and helping patients and families rebuild their lives. There are touching moments as patients see their new reflections, and as families share their joy.

It has been produced by Dragonfly TV, the same award-winning company that shot six series BBC Two’s ‘Surgeons: At the Edge of Life’, which won wide acclaim and was watched by millions of viewers.

To learn more about surgeons in the series visit ‘The Face Doctors’ pages. For information about working at CUH visit our careers pages.