Essentials of Maxillofacial Surgery

This book has been written to provide a basic education and awareness of the surgical specialty of Maxillofacial Surgery.  It is not designed to be an all- inclusive text, but an outline of the terminology, anatomy, diagnosis, and treatment of the broad and complex array of maxillofacial and craniofacial problems. It is intended to serve as a pocket guide that is visually- oriented, can be quickly used as a reference, and read from cover to cover in a short period of time.

Maxillofacial surgery, a long-standing subspecialty of Plastic Surgery, had its beginnings in the early part of the 20th century during World War I when trench warfare created a large number of severe facial injuries. Their treatment required  the development of an integrated approach of reconstructive surgery and dentistry which remains the guiding principles of Maxillofacial Surgery today. It has grown from its beginnings in facial trauma to include congenital cleft and craniofacial deformities, jaw surgery, reconstruction of extirpated tumor defects, to aesthetic facial surgery.

Maxillofacial surgery requires an understanding and assimilation of medical and dental principles involving anatomy, biomaterials, and manual dexterity. Surgical manipulation of facial anatomy is unforegiving in its visible outcome to the patient and society.

The specialty of Maxillofacial Surgery combines a knowledge base and techniques drawn from all of the head and neck disciplines with particular emphasis coming from plastic surgery. The field has expanded greatly over the latter half of the 20th century, led primarily by the interest and innovations established by the tenets of contemporary craniofacial surgery where maxillofacial surgery was expanded to the orbits, forehead, and the cranial cavity to make a better life possible for many congenitally deformed but intelligent human beings.

The specialty of Maxillofacial Surgery is designed to provide the highest standards of care for all surgery performed in the face and skull, whether it’s origin be of bone, soft tissue, or  both. It can be difficult work in an anatomic area where many essential functional and aesthetic structures intermingle and proper training of the surgeon is paramount to achieve the desired end result, a patient with a more normal face and smile. It endeavors to achieve these aims through education, research, and awareness amongst the general public and medical field about the specialty.  This handbook, in its own small way, is another brick for that building. May its reading provide insight into the astonishing work possible from Maxillofacial Surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley