Orthognathic surgery (Greek “orthos” means straight and “gnathos” means jaw) is single or double jaw surgery which is performed to reposition the jaws. During orthognathic surgery a correct jaw alignment and occlusion, as well as, facial harmony is achieved. When the jaws are moved forwards or backwards, up or down, or rotated, the facial soft tissue in the chin, cheeks, lips and tip of the nose move accordingly. Therefore, once the jaws are correctly positioned a harmony between the facial features is acquired. Our surgeons undertake this specialist surgery routinely, and work closely with orthodontists to optimise treatment outcome and patient satisfaction.
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons play a lead role in treating patients with head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancer is an all embracing term which covers oro-facial cancers such as tongue cancer and salivary cancer. It also covers cancers of the voice box and throat and for these types of cancers, our head and neck surgeons will work with our ear nose and throat surgeons and clinical oncologists bringing together their expertise to provide the best possible management for patients referred to our hospital.
Our team benefits from specialist pathology diagnostic services, with expertise in diagnosing unusual diseases of the head and neck area. If a tumour has been identified, and the treatment plan involves surgery, our maxillofacial surgeons will carry out essential surgery to remove malignant tumours, as well as reconstruct any defects using specialised techniques. If the bones of the face and jaw have been involved by cancer, the surgeons will reconstruct the removed area using replacement tissue from other sites in the body to reconstruct the removed diseased tissue using free flap microsurgical techniques. This involves using a microscope to plumb in blood vessels for bone grafts and jaw reconstruction.
Jaw cysts can often be detected by x-ray, but sometimes present as a jaw swelling, occasionally painful. Many types of jaw cysts can occur and affect the bone and tissues of the jaw. Some jaw cysts form from the tissue close to the soft tissue from which teeth develop in early life.
If left untreated, they may progress to cause pain, infection and deformity of the jaw bone. Jaw cysts can become uncomfortable for patients when they become large. Treatment includes the surgical removal of the cyst.
An impacted tooth is any tooth that is prevented from reaching its normal position in the mouth by tissue, bone, or another tooth. The teeth that most commonly become impacted are the canine teeth in teenagers and the wisdom teeth in young adults.
In some patients they may cause a number of oral health problems such as infections or displacement of other teeth. It is important to know that this does not happen in all patients. For some patients, impacted teeth can be removed by general dental practitioners, but if patients require complex surgery such as removing part of the bone to free the tooth (this carries potential risk of nerve injury), then our oral and maxillofacial surgeons will provide specialist surgery for these patients.
This specialist surgery offered to our patients by the oral and maxillofacial surgical team deals with the part of the bone of the jaw which supports the teeth (known as the alveolus).
Salivary gland disease affects the major glands which are called parotid, submandibular, sublingual and other minor glands present in the oral cavity lining. It can be caused by many different factors – the most common causes include infection, stones, or benign and malignant tumours. Other causes include auto-immune diseases such Sjogren’s disease.
Where required, our oral and maxillofacial team will be called upon to use their specialist surgical skills to remove stones and tumours and ultimately help to maintain the normal function of the salivary glands. Our surgeons will work closely with other specialists to ensure that patients are receiving care according to their diagnosis and particular health needs.
Causes of maxillofacial injury are varied; they can arise from car accidents, violence, sports accidents or unforeseen accidents around the home or workplace. Our surgeons are ideally trained to manage such injuries given their understanding of the complex skeletal and soft tissue structure of the face and also their specialist knowledge of the mouth, jaws and teeth.
In most cases, maxillofacial injuries will need to be treated soon after the injury and surgeons may use simple x-rays or an imaging technique called a CT scan (computerised tomography) – which shows the pattern of head and face bone injuries.