Art, science & orthognathic surgery

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 11.27.23 AM– “Orthognathic Surgery is a Science and an Art” (Reyneke, 2013)
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Nowhere in the field of medicine is the fusion between art and science more important than in the clinical assessment of facial aesthetics” (Farhad B. Naini, Facial Aesthetics: Concepts and Clinical Diagnosis).

Facial Aesthetics | Facial beauty
While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, scientific evidence shows that there are ways to define facial beauty. According to Thornhill & Gangestad “human faces judged to be attractive by people possess two features; averageness and symmetry” (1993). Many studies show a correlation between those two features and facial attractiveness (Scheib, J. E et al.,1999). It is, however, important to note that ideal facial beauty is prone to subjective fluctuations and that there are other factors to be taken into consideration.

Science & technology
An understanding of facial aesthetics, average proportions, and symmetry help appreciate the clinical ability to improve facial appearance such as with orthognathic treatment (corrective jaw surgery). Improvement in facial appearance with corrective jaw surgery or the alignment of jaws together, helps patients better meet the two features, symmetry and averageness, discussed above. With today’s scientific and technological advances in the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery, the development of computer based surgery makes it possible to accurately plan and meticulously and safely perform corrective jaw surgery. Meticulousness, accuracy, safety… those are qualities that we truly value here at our clinic and which explain why our Seaforth Oral Surgery associates use such cutting edge technological sophistication. Using computer assisted planning for orthognathic surgery proves to be beneficial and ensures the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Oral & maxillofacial artists?
If an artists is a person who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, then yes, oral & maxillofacial surgeons are artists. According to Reyneke (2013), “the surgeon should apply his or her skills and artistic feel to produce the best aesthetic treatment outcomes.” He further adds that when planning for corrective jaw surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgeon should stimulate their imagination and put into play their “artistic flair”.

In sum, to answer Reyneke’s article title, it is not a fantasy but rather a fact; orthognathic surgery is a science but it is also an art!

Reyneke, J. P. (2013). Orthognathic Surgery is a Science and an Art: Fact or Fantasy,
International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, (36)
Scheib, J. E et al. (1999). Facial attractiveness, symmetry and cues of good genes, 266 (1431), pp. 1913-1917.
Thornhill. R & Gangestad, S. W. (1993). Human Facial Beauty, Human Nature, 4 (3), 237-269.

Author:  © Seaforth Oral Surgery

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