Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) is the surgical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck. The specialty is unique in requiring degrees in both medicine and dentistry, followed by a comprehensive general and specialist surgical training. It is a recognised international specialty and within Europe is defined under the EU medical directives. For most UK OMFS specialists their first degree was dentistry, but a growing number have medicine as their first degree. This medicine first route is supported by shortened (3 year) dental degree courses for OMFS trainees. There are also shortened medical courses for (dental) graduates.
What do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons do?
Often seen as the bridge between medicine and dentistry, the scope of the specialty is extensive and includes the diagnosis and management of facial injuries, head and neck cancers, reconstructive maxillofacial surgery, salivary gland diseases, facial disproportion, craniofacial disorders, facial pain, head and neck cutaneous malignancy, impacted teeth, cysts and tumours of the jaws as well as numerous problems affecting the oral mucosa such as mouth ulcers and infections.
Training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS)
To enter higher training in OMFS requires a registrable dental degree, a medical degree, a minimum of 12 months core surgical training, and possession of the MRCS. The MRCS (Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons) is the assessment of the required knowledge for completion of Core Training in surgery and is common across all surgical specialties.
Higher training in OMFS (5 years) is a year shorter than other surgical specialties. Throughout training progress is monitored and assessed utilising the on line Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Project (ISCP) with work based placed assessments and feedback linked to the curriculum. Every year there is an Annual Record of Competency Progression (ARCP). In the last year of training, each trainee must pass the Intercollegiate Fellowship Examination, leading to the award of the FRCS (OMFS) - the exit exam for our specialty. With the exam and a successful ARCP trainees are eligible for application for a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) to gain entry onto the GMC specialist list in OMFS.
Towards the end of training some OMFS trainees complete Interface Training Fellowships in Head & Neck Cancer, Cleft Surgery, Aesthetic Surgery, Laser Surgery or Trauma & Reconstructive Surgery. These fellowships are open to and interface with other specialties, hence their name.
Other areas within OMFS
Some surgeons concentrate on or have an interest in Higher Surgical Training in OMFS, which involves exposure to all the subspecialty areas of the specialty. However trainees may choose to obtain additional experience and training in one or more of these specialised fields of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery:
- Surgical treatment of head and neck cancer: the removal of the tumours, the sites of metastases and subsequent reconstruction, including microvascular free.
- Surgery for Craniofacial Disorders: the correction of congenital or acquired craniofacial deformity primarily to improve oro-facial function, but also often to overcome facial disfigurement and restore quality of life.
- Oral and Maxillofacial: surgery of the teeth (including implants), jaws, temporomandibular joints, salivary glands and facial skin lesions including skin cancers.
- Oral Medicine: diagnosis and management of medical conditions presenting in and around the cervico-facial structures.
- Craniofacial Trauma: treatment of facial soft and hard tissue injuries of the craniofacial structures.
- Cosmetic Surgery: surgery to enhance facial aesthetics and improve quality of life.
- Academic OMFS Surgery: there are growing number of OMFS surgeons who are also university teachers, researchers and professors in medical and dental schools.
Due to the nature of the specialty, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons often work alongside a variety of specialists in other fields such as ENT Surgeons, Clinical Oncologists, Plastic Surgeons, Orthodontists, Restorative Dentists, Radiologists and Neurosurgeons.
Training in Oral Surgery (OS)
The specialty of OS is a dental specialty that concentrates on the surgical aspects of dentistry. Training in OS does not require a medical degree. Training programmes last between 3 and 5 years. After 3 years training, having passed the Membership in Oral Surgery, a trainee gains a CCT in OS and is eligible for entry onto the GDC OS specialist list. Further training is required to be a consultant in OS, this pathway remains under review. Most trainees will pass an intercollegiate fellowship exam (IFSE) during this extra period of training.
Register your interest in OMFS
Anyone interested in OMFS can register interest. Registration is free and BAOMS will send up-to-date information to all those who register.
Join us and enjoy the benefits of membership Annual subscription to the British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (BJOMS)
- Reduced fees/free for BAOMS Annual Scientific Meeting
- Support and advice for your application for a second degree
- Exclusive access to the members’ secure area
- Eligibility to apply for clinical and scientific research grants, mini grants and bursaries.
Simply contact the BAOMS Office