Enhancing Core Purpose
Medicine, including oral & maxillofacial treatment, has a clear purpose. Patients should receive high quality care and the best possible outcome.
This is one of the defining tenets of The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BOAMS), who run a long term quality management study.
Patient outcomes are a vital part, although they recognise other useful elements. Rather than just be routine, procedures should demonstrate clear health benefits, they should also be cost effective.
Our consultants are active BAOMS members, Professor Shakib served as their Honorary Editor. We follow the national study’s progress and recognise that the principles are helpful to our practice.
Good outcomes are about patients and their input should be central, from providing reviews, to careful appraisal of support during visits. There are also practical metrics which can be applied.
Effectiveness in less complex procedures can be quantified, such as third molar (wisdom tooth) removal. Is the procedure used when appropriate, do pain management and healing follow good paths.
More significant head and neck surgery can be closely monitored. Are there any complications, or an unexpected return to theatre. Is restorative work, such as free tissue transfer, a permanent success.
That success is about quality of life, function and aesthetics, an area our practice focuses on. Aesthetic, or cosmetic outcome can be assessed to a reasonable extent.
For our Harley Street clinic, studying what works well tends not to be about identifying downsides. The objective is continuous improvement and to build a blame free culture, based on best performance.
Noting Valuable Research
We learn from the BAOMS study and our internal research. Others across the globe can add to performance improvement, with maxillofacial care becoming more widespread.
Research papers on significant maxillofacial trauma are interesting to us. Others add perspective on using 3D analysis to evaluate complex head trauma, using the type of scanner we have in house.
Facial Trauma Surgery is part of our work, with accurate planning vital. Research on imaging can help, including a useful study on virtual orthodontic surgical planning, or another on rebuilding the jaw for implants.
Maxillofacial surgeons work with dental specialists and improving the accuracy of surgery related to facial profile can assist with many cases.
Specialist Dental Services are an integral part of function and of maxillofacial care, even though we are not dentists in a general sense.
The jaw is at the centre of our faces and an area where our practice is a leader. We should keep up with developments, such as analysing the benefits of the latest biomaterials, or pain relief.
Other research can be granular, perhaps on establishing the best fixation points following fractures, or looking at rare cancers of the jaw. For an area of our body which is central to life, they deserve time.
Orthognathic Surgery Of The Jaw is another area of current research, a method of repositioning the jaw for medical, or aesthetic reasons.
To consultant maxillofacial surgeons, these areas and more are interesting. We should equally mention the amount of research which goes into the way patients interact with our medical field.
A clinical trial for head and neck cancer patients proved valuable, looking at ways to improve the impact on their lives, alongside clinical outcomes.
Recognition of the part communication plays in successful medical care was part of this and is the subject of ongoing research. Being informed counts, amongst staff and for the wellbeing of patients.
The doctor patient relationship is vital, yet a patient’s comprehension may not match the clinician’s vocabulary. This study looked at avoiding misunderstanding, or anxiety in oral and maxillofacial clinics.
Providing clear information emerges as important in a number of studies, alongside other common denominators. Having a multidisciplinary team in house, or trained and motivated staff at all levels.
Our Maxillofacial Clinic home page is an easy route to seeing how we support these principles, through an ethos of constant progress.