How has COVID-19 affected surgical practice in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in the East Midlands, UK?Surgeon. 2021 Oct; 19(5):e276-e280.S
The impact on the provision of care within the NHS due to COVID-19 can not be understated. It has created various challenges for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons due to the high-risk nature of working within this specialty. The aims of this study were to identify the ongoing clinical activities at the height of pandemic, the guidance issued to staff regarding the use of personal protective equipment and the changes to maxillofacial practice. A prospective analysis was commenced within six Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery units in the East Midlands, UK with data being collected by means of a 10-item questionnaire relating to changes in patient care during this time. The responses were analysed to identify compliance with the national guidance produced by the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. An 87% response rate was obtained (26 respondents from 30 invitations). 73.1% of participants confirmed all surgical members of staff were offered fit tests for FFP3 masks. All units reported a continuation of Head and Neck cancer and emergency operations with a complete reduction in TMJ and orthognathic surgery. FFP3 masks were the most popular masks used for theatre activity whilst FFP2 and surgical masks were more widely used for examining patients and performing procedures in the emergency department. Changes in maxillofacial practice included the use of local flaps compared to free flaps, use of intermaxillary fixation (IMF) where appropriate for craniofacial trauma and routine COVID-19 testing for all inpatients.