Sergey Panashchuk from Odesa

They are trying to keep a low profile. They are forgotten by society. Many of them just would not leave home. We are talking about thousands of soldiers with mine blast injuries to their faces and heads.

The "Doctors for Heroes" project organized by the "Northern Star" charity foundation, was designed to change the situation.

Andrey Borodin, 53, originally from Kramatorsk, received his face injury last March while defending Maryinka, Donetsk region. Now he is undergoing treatment in Odessa and is waiting for surgery to implant a titanium jaw.

"I went to the army a week after the start of a full-scale war. The next day, we were taken to Maryinka. We had to cover the rear. Three weeks later, I was wounded. The bullet went through and pierced the chest. Part of the jaw was twisted, and it just hung. I managed to call my relatives and say that I was wounded and I will be out of reach for some time, "says Andrey.

Andrey was taken to the military hospital named after Mechnikov in the Dnipro. He spent six days in intensive care. There were hospitals in Vinnitsa and Odessa after that.

The soldier has already undergone four surgeries. Now he has a temporary implant that holds his jaw together.

"Now I'm waiting for a titanium jaw and two or three more operations to come to engraft the bones to the implant," says Andrey.

The jaws are 3D printed from titanium powder. After a long process of computer modeling, a jaw is printed individually for each patient. The price of a mistake is high, the jaw must fit anatomically up to a micron.

The project brought together a team of maxillofacial surgeons, bioengineers who model implants, and IMATEH MEDICAL, a company that manufactures implants on a 3D printer.

The cost of implants varies between $1000 and $6000, but the average price is around $2500–3000. The work of surgeons is paid for at the expense of budgetary funds, and for the AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine), implants are paid for by donations.

The project is also supported by philanthropists. Anya Verkhovskaya, an American volunteer and founder of the Friends of Being an Angel foundation, paid for an implant for one of the soldiers.

"We have talked a lot with surgeons in the USA, and they say that the level of maxillofacial surgery in Ukraine is much higher and better than in the US. We work together with the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America; they donated titanium screws and other important general medicines worth $100,000. We will continue to help the project and the soldiers."

According to doctors, maxillofacial surgery and facial reconstruction will be in high demand in Ukraine for at least another 30 years.