BPC surgeon Paul Anderson’s work with injured servicemen is featured in prestigious national magazine

The work of BPC urological surgeon Paul Anderson is highlighted in a major national magazine feature exploring the “last taboo” for injured soldiers.

Mr Anderson is part of a team of highly skilled specialists treating servicemen at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital who were injured during intense conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A major feature in May’s edition of GQ magazine describes how the use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) has resulted in devastating injuries which include severe damage in the genital area.

Mr Anderson, who is an internationally renowned specialist in penile and urethral reconstruction, was asked to join a multi-disciplinary team at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM), Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in 2009, the unit which receives and treats injured servicemen.

In the article, Demetrius Evriviades, principle plastic surgeon in the reconstruction of injured soldiers, explains the team found themselves in new territory: previously, patients with such severe and multiple injuries would not have survived.

The surgeons explain that because IEDs were concealed in the ground, the pelvic and genital area was frequently in the first line of the blast, with catastrophic consequences.

They describe the different types of reconstructive surgery they have undertaken to enable men to pass urine without a catheter and where possible, to support the return of some sexual function.

Two injured soldiers featured in the article describe how deeply their genital injuries have affected them and how this is the “last taboo” that is rarely spoken about, while the focus for injured servicemen tends to be upon the better understood issue of limb loss.

“This detailed, thought-provoking article is a really important insight into what these catastrophic injuries mean and especially what it means for a young soldier to lose his penis and genitalia in a roadside bomb,” says Mr Anderson.

“Even when a soldier endures several amputations, it is usually the impact on the pelvic area that most affects him. It is also the injury least discussed and the two men interviewed for this article give frank, open accounts of this. I am extremely proud to have been involved in their care.”

The work of the team at the RCDM is widely acknowledge for its groundbreaking and complex work, being awarded the Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award in the Care of Veterans category in 2014. Mr Anderson has also worked in Zambia and Ethiopia to train and support urological surgeons in these countries.

“My work in military medicine and in Africa is incredibly important to me. I work in a highly specialist area and it is a privilege to share my skills and help patients who are in extreme need.

“At the same time, it makes me a better surgeon. My work at the Birmingham Prostate Clinic and in the NHS is enhanced because I can take so much from what I have learnt and apply it to all areas of my field. In civilian medicine, I can find solutions for men with the most complex genital and urethral problems, who may have seen other surgeons that are not able to help.”