Maxilliofacial surgeries needs more attention, as most of the specialists in India are diverting and shifting to dental based treatments for their own survival, informs Dr Srijon Mukherji, Director, Calcutta Institute of Maxillofacial Surgeon to Subhajit Bhattacharya of Elets News Network (ENN)
Can you elaborate on maxillofacial surgery and how it is positioned in the healthcare ecosystem?
The maxillofacial surgeries are anatomy specific and it revolves round the facial area of a human body. Maxillofacial surgeons are experts in doing surgeries which are related to the face of a person. It is a skull based surgery and this surgery calls for a significant investment, as its critical in nature and many of the neurosurgeons even dodge the maxillofacial surgery. This surgery is the most ill publicised surgeries and very few amongst the mass really have a clear idea about this specialised stream of treatment.
Corporate based hospitals are not much interested in this field because other sub specialties such as onco surgeons, plastic surgeons are surrogating maxillofacial treatments. Government hospitals do not have the infrastructure to support such surgeries. Currently, most of the maxillofacial surgeons in India are diverting from the core area and shifting to dental based treatments for their own survival.
What future you see for the maxillofacial surgery in the country?
It is an unique treatment; we need more specialists in this particular field. My sub-specialty is a state- ofart organisation which tries to create the next breed of maxillofacial surgeons who are passionate about this profession. Located in east, we train students from different parts of the country.
How you can enhance the awareness level of the people about maxillofacial treatments?
The awareness on the treatment is yet to reach many in the country. As far as Kolkata market is concerned for the last seven years we are doing comparatively well. The awareness amongst the government hospitals has increased. Now the Bengal government has also decided to depute one dental and maxillofacial surgeon in all the medical collages and other district level hospitals of the state which is a big achievement for us.
When a patient should search for a maxillofacial surgeon?
Individuals who suffer from jaw joint pain, clicking, locking and inability to open the mouth should immediately approach maxillofacial surgeon. Most common chronic facial painful conditions are jaw joint related. Or any lump or bumps, ulcer, red or white or patches inside the mouth need attention of a maxillofacial surgeon only.
The level of oral cancer is increasing every day, how can we restrict the spread?
Tobacco is not the only reason which can cause oral cancer; a simple broken tooth can lead a person to oral cancer. The awareness levels are extremely less amongst the commoners. The oral area is mostly prone to cancer and 40 per cent of cancer takes birth inside our oral surface. There is a very strong corporate nexus which is running within the society which is diverting the attention of the community towards other types of diseases such as breast cancer. A publicity campaign planned for breast cancer gets ample amount of money and support but campaign for oral cancer in India still lives in darkness. We need more stringent laws to curb the spread of tobacco related products and we must fine them and use that money in funding sensitisation programmes.