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How is a patient evaluated for jaw surgery?
Mr Heliotis tells us how he decides whether a patient is a suitable candidate for jaw surgery
Now you were telling me that before a patient makes a decision to have this type of surgery there is a series of consultations that you perform.
Well, whether they come privately or on the NHS I spend quite a lot of time with them with the first consultation and I go through what is involved more or less as we have done today. I tell them of the risks and benefits, but above all I enquire as to why they want something done. That is exceptionally important.
Absolutely, because I need to see what it is that they want and whether it is achievable. I need to see what their reaction is to what I have to tell them about what they are to expect and I weigh very carefully whether their motivation is there to go through with this because I like having people that are well informed, motivated for it and not push or suggest that they should have the surgery. So, quite often patients ask me 'Is this for me?' and this is not a question I can answer. This is a question only a patient can answer. The reason is some people look obviously like they need an operation and they are quite comfortable with themselves, but their partner or somebody wants something done. They are not the people that I operate on because they are half-hearted about it. They are not motivated, so they are not going to do well post-operatively, not because the operation is not going to go well, but they are not going to be motivated enough to recover. So, I only recommend these procedures if somebody is highly motivated in proceeding with this, if they want a change and of course if it will make a difference for their social life or other aspects of their life, perhaps professionally - and of course most importantly functional differences. Will it improve their chewing and bite? So, I emphasise to patients that the benefits that they get from this are relative to their expectations and motivations, but one way or the other from an objective point of view the function and the cosmetics go hand-in-hand. We aim to give both facial and dental harmony so that their nose, their jaws, their teeth all fit together in a smooth, aesthetic way on their face.