Maxillofacial surgery requires the highest degree of commitment to medicine and great expertise. The surgeon has to have a double qualification in both medicine and dentistry. Their focus is on the facial region. Maxillofacial surgeons work with a number of departments to bring their skills to bear on a whole host of diverse cases. From reconstructive surgery caused by severe trauma to the head caused by a motorcycle accident to surgery to excise a tumour of the mouth, the maxillofacial surgeon is prepared for every eventuality. At Sri Ramakrishna Hospital, the Department of Maxillofacial Surgery uses state-of-the-art technology to bring its immense collective expertise and experience to bear upon traumatic conditions with excellent outcomes.
Maxillofacial (or facial) trauma is physical trauma caused to the face. This covers fractures of the bones like the jaw and nose, burns and lacerations to soft tissue and trauma to the eye. These can cause pain, swelling and disfigurement. As the face is the most openly viewed part of the body, disfigurement to it can cause deep depression and a host of psychological issues. Quality of life is impacted both on the physical and the emotional level. Trauma to the face can also be life-threatening since it can impact the airways.
Facial injuries are of several types. They range from severe injuries to the skin and bones of the face to severe tooth injury. They are classified as bony injuries (fractures), soft tissue injuries (skin and gums) and injuries to special regions (eyes, salivary glands, facial nerves and so on).
Some of the most common causes of injuries to the face are automobile accidents and violence.
Orofacial cancers affect the face and oral cavity of the human body. There are a number of types of cancer which affect this region of the body. Mouth cancer, as is now well known, is fairly widespread in India due to the popular use of chewing tobacco. Oral cancer has a whole range of symptoms from pain, ulcers which do not heal, lesions, dysphagia and so on. Treatment is decided in consultation with the patient’s oncologist. When surgery is required to excise the tumour it may cause damage to the facial structure, resulting in disfigurement.
The maxillofacial surgeons work closely with oncologists and plastic surgeons to excise the tumour and reconstruct the facial structure in order to give the patient the most healthy quality of life possible.
Treatments & Procedures
Maxillofacial surgeons at Sri Ramakrishna Hospital use a host of cutting-edge surgical techniques allied with technology to help patients who are afflicted by trauma to the facial region. Soft tissue injuries like lacerations are typically repaired by the use of stitches. While doing so, great care is taken to ensure preservation of facial nerves, glands and ducts. Bone injuries are treated depending on their severity. Since a fracture to the face cannot be repaired using a cast, the region needs to be stabilised using other methods. Wiring the jaws is one such option. Another is the strategic placement of screws and plates which has hastened recovery times in modern times. Where incisions are required, they are kept to a minimal size to prevent scarification.
Maxillofacial surgeons are qualified both in dentistry and medicine and this allows them to adeptly treat trauma to the dental structure as well. A host of cancers affect the mouth region. The maxillofacial surgeons work with oncologists and other specialists to treat cancer through surgery. The maxillofacial surgeon has in-depth training and education in treating skin, bone, muscle, cartilage and so on. This allows perspective of both function and form while carrying out surgical treatment. Today’s technology puts advanced biomedical devices and materials at the maxillofacial surgeon’s disposal. Allied with modern techniques such as minimally invasive surgery, the patient’s outlook is better than ever.