Episode three of BBC Two’s ‘Hospital’ documentary showcased the innovations in surgery and healthcare science at Nottingham Hospitals.
The episode followed a patient named Val who underwent full jaw reconstruction surgery after losing her jaw to cancer two years ago. She was cared for by members of our Maxillofacial team who provide specialist dental support services for the rehabilitation of severe facial and skeletal deformity.
Jason Watson, Prosthetist Consultant and Healthcare Scientist designed and built Val’s new jaw and is part of the team of the regional Maxillofacial Laboratory service provided at Nottingham Hospitals.
Jason described some of the work he is involved in as a Prosthetist Consultant said: “Reconstructive Science covers many different surgical specialties, including Maxillofacial, ENT, Neuro, Plastics & Burns and Ophthalmology. We have our own clinical work providing various specialist services. One key area is working with patients who have facial deformity. It could be that they are born with the defect or they are missing skin and bone due to an accident or from cancer surgery.”
He added: “We have to make a life like prosthesis, or artificial skin and bone to replace the structures that are missing. It could be an ear, an eye or a larger area of the middle of the face including the eye, cheeks and nose. The prostheses are worn all day and taken off at night. Prostheses help patients return to a more normal life, help them socially and also psychologically in there recovery from quite debilitating injury or surgery. This gives them confidence and also helps their family come to terms with what has happened.”
Jason explained how ‘surgical planning’ has helped improve some of the techniques used, to help improve the outcome for patients by rehearsing these procedures first time.
He said: “We use images of the patient from scans and 3D printed models of the patient’s skin and bone to rehearse the operation with the surgeon. This rehearsal means we can look at every eventuality prior to the actual surgery to make sure we get the best outcome for the patient. It saves time and money in theatre costs as the operations are shorter, it allows a better outcome for the patient and very importantly allows you to show the patient an actual model of themselves and what we are going to do to them. This really help patients and family understand their treatment and the process of consent. “
Jason is an accomplished Healthcare scientist and Prosthetist Consultant and he was recently awarded a Fellowship, highest level of award for clinicians recognised as leading their field. He is also a previous winner of the National ‘Chief Scientific Officer Awards for Leadership and Innovation.
He also spoke of some of the triumphs and challenges from working in his role within the wider NHS. He said: “It often feels like you never have enough time because there is always pressure on the system – that is probably one of the worst parts of the job. However the best part is definitely working with patients, they provide the challenges to you in terms of what is possible to achieve and they are always amazing with how they cope with the obstacles that life bring them. Our patients are our biggest inspirations.”
Jason and Consultant from last night’s episode Mr Dilip Srivinasan will be on BBC East Midlands Today this evening from 6:30pm talking about last night’s episode and maxillofacial surgery at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.