Evaluation of the scope and practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery in Nigeria
Background: Oral and maxillofacial surgery is still evolving, with the scope of practice in Nigeria inadequately determined.
Aims and Objectives: This study aims to ascertain the level of practice in various parts of the country vis‑a‑vis the global trend and factors influencing the scope in Nigeria.
Design of the Study: Cross‑sectional.
Setting: The study was carried out at the University of Ibadan. Participants included all the maxillofacial surgeons on the mailing list of the Nigerian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and Practicing in Nigeria as at December, 2012.
Materials and Methods: Structured questionnaires were delivered to all on the mailing list of the Nigerian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Respondents were asked to provide information about their demographics, years of practice, areas of practice and factors influencing the choice of practice among others. Nonresponders were reminded a month after initial contact. Data were entered into a personal computer and variables analyzed using descriptive statistical analysis.
Results: Thirty‑two (56%) of the 57 questionnaires were returned. Most respondents were aged 41–45 years (n = 11, 34.4%). Twenty‑six (81.3%) were males, whereas 6 (18.8%) were females. Twenty respondents (62.5%) practiced in the teaching hospitals. Eighteen respondents (56.3%) practiced in the south‑west geopolitical region. Twelve respondents (37.5%) were the only maxillofacial surgeons in their centers. 81.3% routinely practiced traumatology against 15.6% for implantology. Seventy‑eight percent (n = 25) had satisfactory facilities for traumatology, dentoalveolar surgery, and cleft repair surgery, while facilities were least satisfactory in implantology and orthognathic surgery (15.6% and 12.5%, respectively). The highest single factor influencing choice/area of practice was financial reward (100% of respondents). Fifty percent (n = 16) claimed not to have had adequate training in their area of interest. Most respondents (93.8%) believe the greatest challenge facing oncological maxillofacial surgery in Nigeria was late presentation of patients.
Conclusion: The scope of practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery is largely limited in the country relative to what obtains globally.
Key words: Nigeria, oral and maxillofacial surgery, scope practice