Who Goes and When

Each year, Austin Smiles undertakes two to three week-long medical missions to various locations in Latin America.

The medical mission team generally consists of a medical team and 10 to 15 volunteers who provide translation, administrative and technical support. About 30 licensed medical professionals make up a medical team. These may include board certified plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, speech pathologists, otolaryngologists, surgical nurses, recovery and post recovery nurses, and other surgical technologists. No volunteer (medical or otherwise) is paid for their services and each must raise a sponsorship fee to cover a portion of his or her expenses.

Where We Go

Deciding to undertake the first mission to an area takes a lot of planning and commitment. This is largely because the children we help will need multiple surgeries and therapeutic interventions for years. As you can see from our list of past missions, we typically return to the same places year after year.


We can’t go everywhere or help every child. So we carefully select sites where we know the in-country medical community can provide follow-up care for our patients in between our mission visits. 

What We Bring

We bring all pre-operative, surgical, recovery, post-operative and anesthetic supplies and medications with us, except narcotics and IV fluids, which we must purchase in country.

The Difference a Week Makes

In a typical one-week mission, Austin Smiles will change the lives of 60 children. To date, we have completed many thousands of reconstructive surgeries on the nearly 4,000 children we have reached in Latin America. It is incredibly powerful and gratifying to reunite on subsequent visits with happy, healthy and attractive young adults whom we first met as infants with severe orofacial deformities.

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About Cleft Lip/Palate
Our Local Mission