INDIA  :   Health

Oral and maxillofacial surgery in India

Saturday , 26 December 2015

Over the years, the role of oral and maxillofacial surgeries has widened, in terms of correcting medical complications from head to throat. This week, TGI explores the oral-maxillofacial surgery options available in India

Oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS) is an internationally-recognised surgical speciality, which deals with the treatment and correction of a wide spectrum of diseases, injuries, defects involving the functional and aesthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws, face, head and neck.

“Oral and maxillofacial surgery treats diseases affecting oral (mouth) and maxillofacial (face and neck) regions. New technologies like laser and titanium implants have widened the role of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Our help is now sought even for surgical treatment of conditions like trauma to the face and jaws, cancer and pre-cancer of mouth, sinus, throat infections etc.,” said Dr Ramakrishna Shenoi, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department, VSPM Dental College and Research Centre-Nagpur.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery procedures conducted in India

OMS involve both minor and major surgeries. OMS, which is generally done under local anaesthesia, includes procedures like dental implants, removal of impacted teeth and intra-oral and facial soft tissue injury procedures. Major operations that require 5 to 7 days of hospitalisation, and are conducted under general anaesthesia include oral cancer surgery, salivary gland disease, facial deformity, etc.

The oral and maxillofacial surgery procedures performed by Indian corporate hospitals include:

  1. Cosmetic Jaw surgery: It is also referred to as orthognathic surgery which is performed for correcting defects and deformities of the jaw.
  1. Fixing of all facial bone fractures: This surgery is performed under general anaesthesia.
  1. Navigation surgery: This is a relatively new oral maxillofacial surgery which is generally used for neuro, spine and orthopaedic surgery.
  1. OMS for cyst and tumours: With advanced technology, OMS is being used for conducting biopsies of tumours of the face and mouth and removal and reconstruction surgery of the affected parts of the jaw and face.
  1. Temporomandibular (Jaw) disorder surgery: This small joint is located directly in front of the ear, and acts as a hinge that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. It helps one move the jaw up and down and side to side. Problems with the jaw and muscles in the face that control it, are known as temporomandibular disorders.
  1. Dental Implants: OMS is used for the treatment of dental implants. These are ‘root’ devices made up of titanium. This is the only way to replace ‘missing teeth’ or provide fixed teeth for jaws which have been reconstructed with bone grafts.
  1. Correction of facial birth defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate: This congenital deformity affects the upper lip and roof of the mouth, in case the tissue that forms the roof of the mouth and upper lip has not joined properly before birth.
  1. Correcting Birth marks (haemangiomas).
  1. Correcting obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnoea is a serious sleeping disorder which is common among adults. The patient experiences a reduction of airflow during sleep. OMS procedures are often used to correct OSA.
  1. Oral and maxillofacial cosmetic surgeries: These involve cheek augmentation, rhinoplasty and cosmetic facelift to enhance facial aesthetics. The common cosmetic OMS surgeries which foreigners opt for are chin surgery (genioplasty), eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), facelift surgery (rhytidectomy), facial and neck liposuction surgery, lip enhancement surgery, ear surgery etc.

India as a destination for OMS

In India, an increasing number of dental surgeons are trained abroad for oral and maxillofacial surgeries. With corporate hospitals in India investing heavily in technology and infrastructure for oral maxillofacial surgery, foreign patients are heading towards India for treatment.

“A simple oral and maxillofacial treatment like chin correction costs between Rs 30,000 and Rs 3 lakh in India, depending upon the type of treatment. Abroad, it is four times the cost. People prefer coming to India, as here the procedures are competitive. The surgeons are trained abroad. Most of the technologies used are the same as in western countries. There is no waiting period too,” said Dr Rajkumar Yelle, Orthodontist, Rajarajeshwari Medical College & Hospital-Bengaluru.

OMS surgeons in India have been involved in path breaking OM surgeries. For example, in August this year, doctors at Rajan Dental Institute in Chennai, performed a zygoma dental implant on a 17-year-old girl, who had a rare genetic disorder called Papillon Lefevre Syndrome and lost all her teeth by the age of 14. According to doctors, this is a first of its kind OMS in the world, where they managed to insert longer-than-normal dental implants in the girl’s cheek bone. “She was given dentures that had chances of falling off. With this new implant, the fear has gone. It is a less invasive procedure, where we used a bone graft from the hip, as there was inadequate bone formation in the jaw, to hold the dentures,” said Dr R Gunaseelan, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Director of the institute.

According to the Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in India, many foreigners are visiting India, for the treatment of dental problems like difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing; speech problems; chronic jaw or TMJ pain; open bite; protruding jaw and breathing problems. Most of the Indian corporate hospitals like Fortis Healthcare, Apollo chain of hospitals etc. have a dedicated oral and maxillofacial surgery department with a dedicated team of doctors including specialists like dentists, orthodontists, prosthodontists, radiologists, pathologists, oncologists, ENT surgeons, neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons and other medical professionals.