| 27 Feb 2023

Timaru Hospital’s first maxillofacial surgeries prove successful

Countless hours of research and preparation by Te Whatu Ora staff have allowed two South Canterbury patients to receive life-changing surgery in their home region.

The two maxillofacial surgeries – undertaken in early February, are the first ever to be completed in Timaru and were carried out by a Christchurch-based surgeon, supported by the Timaru Hospital team, and were a part of the Te Waipounamu’s work to reduce long waits across the region.

Maxillofacial surgery is the surgical specialty which involves the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries and defects affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck. Maxillofacial surgeons treat impacted teeth, cancer patients requiring dental implants, jaw joint problems, salivary gland disease, dental infections, facial deformity and abnormal bite, oral cancer, other tumours and cysts of the jaws and facial trauma following accidents.

Timaru Hospital Theatre Manager, Angelina Taylor, said it took an enormous team effort over many months to make sure everything was in place for the surgeries.

It required cooperation between Anaesthesia, Theatre, ICU, Central Sterile Services, Recovery, Day Patients, Preadmission, Inpatient Booking Office and teams from the wider region, as well as equipment from Christchurch Theatres.  Staff were also able to learn and practice new skills, such as complicated airway management.

Angelina Taylor said the most satisfying part of the experience was seeing the patients discharged from hospital the next morning after their surgeries, pain-free and able to easily return home.