WHAT IS A MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON?
Maxillofacial surgeons are specialists who treat the conditions, defects, injuries and aesthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face. We specialise mainly in the care of people who, for some reason, require or have required some type of oral surgery. We try to give people the facial and dental harmony they need.
What does a Maxillofacial Surgeon do?
Maxillofacial surgeons are dedicated to treat defects of the face surgically, like scars due to injuries, disorders of the bones of the face and mouth. They place the bones of the face in the right place when they have grown in disproportion through orthognathic surgery. They perform dental implant surgery and bone grafting surgery that is often needed to correct the placement of implants, they treat disorders of the temporomandibular joint in patients who frequently suffer from facial pain that is very difficult to erradicate, they perform very complex and long surgeries like cancer of the face and reconstructive microsurgical techniques, they treat patients who have had accidents with fractures and facial injuries, they treat children born with deformities such as cleft lip and they perform mouth surgery, such as extractions of wisdom teeth, jaw cysts, gum surgery, etc...
What to do to be Maxillofacial Surgeon?
If you want to make a short career to get you to work right away, Maxillofacial surgery is not your option. A Maxillofacial surgeon has to study to get a Degree in Medicine, that will take at least six years of study, then comes the MIR exam, that will take one year of intensive study to get good grades that will be high enough to choose a place to study Maxillofacial surgery. In Catalonia there are only 3 places available per year: 2 places in the Valle Hebron Hospital and 1 in the Hospital de Bellvitge. The specialisation will take 5 years.
In Spain you do not need a degree in dentistry, but many of us also have studied dentistry as well, so you have to add 3 or 4 years more of intensive studying.
All this stuying will take 12 or16 years!!
Unlike in American countries where a maxillofacial surgeon only has the degree of dentistry and then study specialisation during 4 years, maxillofacial surgeons in Europe also perform what Craniofacial and Head and Neck American surgeons perform and they require a degree in Medicine.
So you see, the specialisation is not small and contrary to what many people believe, maxilofacial surgeons not only carry out wisdom teeth surgery.
Where does a maxillofacial surgeon work?
In the hospital, where they perform surgeries and external consultations, on duty telephone shifts and in person during residency and in Medical or Dental Clinics that require a specialist in oral surgery.
My hospital is the Parc Taulí Hospital, where I have the pleasure of working with two great maxillofacial surgeons, Dr. Oscar Escuder and Dr. Juan Molina.