(MENAFN - Arab News) Oral and maxillofacial surgeries are procedures to treat a wide range of diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeries are procedures to treat a wide range of diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.
It is one of nine internationally recognized surgical specialties in the world. This specialty is also recognized by the Saudi Health Ministry. There is a Saudi Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (SSOMS) that is highly effective in providing additional information and technology to doctors and Saudi hospitals.
Founder and Vice President of SSOMS Dr. Hamed H. Al-Bargi told Arab News in an exclusive interview the number of oral and maxillofacial surgeries in Saudi Arabia are quite high due to the large number of road accidents. Other reasons include the prevalence of oral cancer and facial deformities at birth.
A one-day workshop on facial deformities reconstruction was organized by SSOMS under the supervision of the Saudi Health Council at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Jeddah on Thursday.
According to an analysis from the Saudi Medical Journal and King Saud University in Riyadh, the medical records of 743 patients aged 18 to 64 were screened and referred to the KSU's College of Dentistry from January to June 2002. One-hundred-and-sixty-seven were men and 576 women. Approximately 90 percent of the patients were healthy. The remaining 10 percent suffered from different systemic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, asthma and rheumatic fever and oral cancer.
According to the Saudi Medical Journal, oral cancer is the third most common cause of malignancy in Saudi Arabia after lymphoma and leukemia. The high incidence of oral cancer in this region is attributed to frequent use of tobacco.
"In the treatment of facial deformities we have to look at two things. One, the functions of the face muscles and bones and secondly if a patient has a functional problem. Usually we don't assist but if there are deformities in function, for example if somebody has a broken jaw because of which he can't eat, talk and swallow food, then it's very important to fix the jaw to make life easier, so maxillofacial surgery and oral dental care are very important procedures," said Al-Bargi.
He emphasized the importance of doctors and surgeons learning the latest techniques, technology and new equipment and their use in the field.
"It's very important for experts and doctors to participate in such conferences and workshops to update themselves with new research and technology so they can give better treatment, to have discussions and one to one meetings with experts from abroad," added Al-Bargi.
The most fundamental issue discussed in the conference was the latest imaging system for facial deformities that provides 3D models and essentially helps the surgeon to decide where to cut and how to move the bones.
"The talk of the day was based on different topics like orthogenetic surgery, which is related to moving the jaws. It gave us instructions on how far we could move the jaws, which is very beneficial for Saudi doctors and patients," said Al-Bargi.
Al-Bargi also said imaging system machines are acutely much in demand in Saudi hospitals. If machines and doctors become more effective they are certainly able to benefit the community because they can look at the patient and work out how to fix the deformity.
Al-Bargi also explained the importance of awareness among the general public. "For that we can write a pamphlet in a simple language that they can understand because it's very important for the public to obtain the correct knowledge. The Internet is the best way for communication. Even in areas and villages where they have limited resources we raise awareness through charity work inside and outside the country," explained Al-Bargi.
Al-Bargi also said the future of this field is immensely promising. Young doctors who are thinking of becoming facial surgeons should be absolutely sure that's what they want to become as there is a lot of work and stress associated with the field, he added.
"Restudying, attend lectures, meetings, and obtaining the latest information on this area is very important. The scope for this field is very high. It's a great specialty, though people still don't understand it, but when they do understand they will appreciate it," said Al-Bargi.
Dr. Rahaf Al-Habab, oral maxillofacial surgeon at King Fahad Hospital and head of its orthogenetic unit, said it is extremely beneficial for doctors and public to understand the importance of learning as well as keeping abreast of the latest technology and equipment and research, which is exceptionally beneficial in daily practice.
"The three best speakers in the world talked about all topics that were really important from top to bottom. They talked about biological complications and hard cases, so they covered the workshop from all angles very accurately," said Al-Habab.
"Most of our maxillofacial and oral surgeons received their training from abroad. All of them are very well exposed to new techniques and advancement in all procedures. They are really good in their field and can provide the best for their patients and at the same time we push our residents and doctors to update themselves. We focused a lot on keeping abreast of what is going on and trying to adopt new techniques."
Al-Habab added the government provides financial support for such treatments.
"Basically every treatment is free and the government is providing the materials which are very expensive. We try to provide them with the highest possible treatment for their benefit and ours by applying these new techniques and equipment. We have good doctors who are ready to use the latest technology. In Saudi Arabia, especially in the dental and medical field, we have some of the highest qualified people in the world," said Al-Habab.
"The problem is that most physicians or surgeons do not communicate with patients very well when it's very important for both doctors and patients to communicate properly."
Dr. Reha Kisnisci, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Ankra University and speaker at the workshop, also emphasized the importance of such meetings and said it raises the standards of training and educational efforts.
"Today we are facing problems related to trauma as there are more vehicles on the road, leading to increased chances of road traffic accidents. This represents a challenge for physicians, surgeons and dentists so in our specialty it is very important to give optimal treatment and care for those suffering patients," said Kisnisci.
Kisnisci added generic medicines, cleft osteotomies, maxillary distraction osteogenesis and tissue engineering are quite critical areas that is part of their discipline as well.
"This discipline encompasses everything from dental surgery to replacing dental implants, facial injuries, facial fractures, soft tissue variations etc. Also, treating symptoms from jaw joints, which follow our ears, is not uncommon to see. People complain about joints clicks, so we have to find a place for them as well to fix. In this field, we also treat a lot of patients who have a deformation of jaw bones or facial bones from birth or develop it later," said Kisnisci.
Kisnisci also explained new technologies like endoscopy, thermal therapies and thermal techniques like laser treatment are used to avoid invasive surgeries, which lowers cost and minimizes recovery time.
"Through educational activities, courses and meetings, we can spread the message of awareness about the new techniques we have in the medical field to satisfy patients and let them know what we have today to solve their problems," said Kisnisci.
Dr. Max Hilland, head of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the German University Medical Center in Hamburg-Eppendorf, also said the frequency of such cases in Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries is increasing.
"It's very important for doctors and surgeons to obtain information on new technologies and their limitations because in daily practice it would be a little bit different than obtaining knowledge from developers," said Hilland.
Hilland emphasized on holding lectures, discussions and exchange of information involving Saudi doctors as well as more conferences in different Arab countries. Hilland talked about bone substitute materials, an alternative to autogenous bone and a modern concept in orthogenetic surgery. He also discussed cleft osteotomies and maxillary distraction osteogenesis as well as distraction osteogenesis and sleep apnea.
Al-Bargi that the other reason for conducting the meeting was to hold SSOMS' general elections.
"The general elections that took place today at the venue was also an important reason to organize the event so different members of the society get the chance to serve society. It's our motive that every member get the chance to give his or her opinion and serve the country, public and SSOMS in his or her best capacity," said Al-Bargi.