Our team of highly qualified maxillofacial surgeons treat patients with injuries, deformities and diseases of the mouth, jaws, face and salivary glands.
We conduct specialist surgery which ensures that our patients can speak and chew properly. Our surgeons will always take cosmetic appearance into consideration during such surgical procedures.
James Cook is a major trauma unit. Our maxillofacial surgeons treat approximately 400 complex trauma cases every year. Our surgeons play a key role in the care of patients with multiple injuries to the neck, face, mouth and head regions.
Patients who are referred to us for specialist surgery for facial deformities either caused by diseases such as oral cancer or for those who were born with disfigurements, will receive specialist surgery from our maxillofacial surgeons.
Some of these patients may have experienced months or possibly years of anxiety associated with their facial appearance, so it is essential for these individuals to receive the highest standard of maxillofacial surgery to make them look and feel happy with themselves.
Facial, head and neck injuries
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 an imaging technique called a CT scan (computerised tomography) – which shows the pattern of head and face bone injuries.
Depending on the extent and nature of the injury, our maxillofacial surgeons will work closely with colleagues in the co-located department of neurosurgery with the aim of making patients well again, as quickly as possible and avoiding the need for further surgery.
Treatment for salivary gland diseases
Salivary gland disease affects the major glands which are called parotid, submandibular, sublingual and some other minor glands.
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 Sjorgen’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.
Surgery of the hard and soft tissues supporting the teeth
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).
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.
If left untreated they can cause a number of oral health problems such as infections or displacement of other teeth.
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 risk of nerve injury), then our oral and maxillofacial surgeons will provide specialist surgery for these patients.
Jaw cysts can only be detected by x-ray. 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.
Head and neck cancer
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 medical oncologists bringing together their expertise to provide the best possible management for patients referred to our hospital.
Our teams benefit from specialist oral 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 skin grafts.
If the bones of the face and jaw have been damaged by cancer, the surgeons will reconstruct the bone area using replacement tissue from other sites in the body (the chest wall, hip or leg) to replace the removed diseased skin and bone using free flap microsurgical techniques. This involves using a microscope to plumb in blood vessels for bone grafts and jaw reconstruction.