The most significant way we can assist during the coronavirus pandemic is to make sure we are here, that diagnosis and treatment remain available. The early part of 2020 showed what happens if wider medical care is cut off.
Greater use of technology such as video consultations has helped, along with a rigorous approach to infection control and patient safety. Covid-19 may be notably transmissible but much of this can be prevented.
This allows a range of support to be available, from trauma management, to facial, or dentoalveolar surgery, or the treatment of oral cancers. Less obvious jaw disorders, or facial lesions can also still be cared for.
How diagnosis and treatment are approached can be adjusted for current times, in ways which may well assist in the longer term.
Whether by video, or in the real world, consultation can lead to treatment. This requires contact, so care is taken on staff interaction, other patient contact and as far as possible, the time required for care.
Nothing is rushed but leading edge thinking can make clinic visits, or hospital stays shorter. Research had already begun on this and has been moved forward, to reduce cost, or discomfort to patients and infection risk.
A recent study looked at patients needing metal plate jaw surgery. They found that by switching procedural order, an average of two days hospital stay could be avoided, without any detriment to the patients.
Similar principles can be applied to less intensive maxillofacial treatment. The order and timing of scans can be refined, preparation for treatment can be at an advanced stage before people attend.
In a well established field, not every type of treatment should be honed but a fair percentage can be. This adds to risk reduction from Covid-19, saves in other ways and improves future care.
Whilst the medical profession has been stretched at times, they have also found new ways to add knowledge where required. Maxillofacial specialists were amongst staff from Kings College London who helped to develop a new mask.
This is highlighted in the video above, built to FFP3 standard and made to fit each individual as never before. Aimed initially at medical staff and care workers, the new mask will be manufactured in the UK.
The mask is simply one way specialists have come together, nationally and internationally. Working with each other on successfully refining care, training staff and adding safety to treatment during coronavirus.
As we write this, Covid-19 vaccines are on the way. The pandemic will end and everything be done until then to avoid infection, along with building techniques that bode well for the future, one way we can win from an unwanted assault.