Saving Faces and the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS), in conjunction with The Royal College of Emergency Medicine, undertook two national surveys on the incidence of facial injuries. The data collected represented the only large multi-centre prospective data-set on UK facial injuries presented to secondary care with over 14,700 data collected.
Rhodri Davies is a doctor based in London who is pursuing a career in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Through The National Facial and Oral Research Centre (NFORC) and with the support of the Saving Faces research team, Rhodri analysed this data as part of his master’s degree in Surgical Science. He undertook a cross-sectional temporal study looking at the morphology of facial injuries presenting to UK emergency departments over a period of 11 years.
We are pleased to announce that Rhodri was awarded a distinction for his master’s degree. The first part of the analysis was presented at the BAOMS Annual Scientific Meeting in June 2018 and the second stage of the analysis was presented at the 2018 European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery (EACMFS) in Munich.
Rhodri Davies was supervised by Mr Doug Hammond (Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon), Mr Patrick Magennis and Professor Iain Hutchison.
Maxillofacial injuries represent a significant clinical burden on UK emergency departments and can have far-reaching social, economic, healthcare and psychological implications. The type of injury has a huge bearing on the management and outcome, so understanding the exact nature of the clinical burden is vital in dynamically adapting the care provided and efficiently managing this increasing problem.
The aim of the study was to determine if there was a difference in the tissue-type of the facial injuries that presented to UK emergency departments when comparing the two national facial injury surveys. Facial injuries can be broadly divided based on the tissue-type that is involved; soft tissue injury might involve skin and muscle whereas; hard tissue involves bones of the face and skull, and teeth.
The results showed that total facial injuries increased between the two surveys by over 40%. Soft tissue injuries increased by over 65%, both in real terms but also as a proportion of total injuries. Resultantly, although hard tissue injuries decreased by only a small amount, they represented a significantly smaller percentage of the total injuries.
The type, complexity and required management of the soft tissue injuries were analysed and the exact facial bone and the type of dental injury were also studied. The results point to a large increase in facial injuries, but a reduction in injury severity and changing trends in mechanism and social factors, such as, knife crime, alcohol intoxication and falls in the elderly.
Implications of these findings have great relevance to training and education of clinical staff, resource allocation in the NHS, healthcare planning and public health policy.