Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery In London
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Undergoing test in hospital clinic

Why Maxillofacial Referrals Are Made

The young lady in the image above is a serving US naval ensign, undergoing a swallow study, at a well equipped maxillofacial clinic.

Not unusual in itself but her issues came to light on board ship, a long way from home. Increasing jaw pain and difficulty opening her mouth had taken her to the ship’s dental officer.

A visit which saw the patient swiftly sent to a large naval medical centre in San Diego, where a diagnosis of oral cancer was confirmed.

A Life Saving Decision

The rare cancer had originated in a saliva gland cell behind a wisdom tooth, before growing out of control and entering jaw muscles, the tongue and throat.

Treatment involved significant tissue and bone removal, with replacement bone transplanted from the fibula, lost teeth replaced with individually tailored implants.

Complex procedures which deserve to be recognised for the lives they save but another life saving action took place before this, the dental officer’s immediate referral.

Recognising Need

The dental officer explained that her training prepared her to cope with a range of common and less common maxillofacial issues but also said:

“Part of good training and patient care is being able to identify the point at which a case requires advanced diagnostic tools, or is outside the scope of your expertise, both of which applied in this case.”

She appreciated the role advanced imaging such as cone beam computed tomography could play, along with the knowledge of a maxillofacial consultant.

This recognition was the primary force in avoiding further cancerous growth, a fine example of how medicine should work.

Sharing Skills

Our clinic has seen similar cases to the one above, referred because of our in house imaging, specialist skills and the ability to treat what is found. The best route a doctor can take to support their patient.

There can equally be cases where we will seek input from others with unique knowledge. No one person in medicine has all the answers and success can lay in mutual input.

If your doctor has referred you to a maxillofacial clinic, this is because they recognise a need for further knowledge. They have put your interests to the fore and acted.

In almost all cases, our team of experienced maxillofacial consultants will be able to help but if you need additional support, this will be found. Good medical care brings the right skills together.