A national survey of oral maxillofacial surgeons' and trainees' awareness and practice regarding psychological problems associated with facial trauma

Afr Health Sci. 2022 Dec;22(4):182-190. doi: 10.4314/ahs.v22i4.22.

Abstract

Background: The psychological problems associated with facial trauma may sometimes pose additional health concerns for the injured patient. Understanding the gaps in the Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons' (OMFS) awareness of patient in need of specialist mental health intervention is important in ensuring holistic care for the trauma patient.

Objectives: To determine the knowledge, practices and self-assessed level of competence of Nigerian Oral maxillofacial surgeons/trainees regarding psychological problems associated with facial trauma and to determine their perceived need for training in assessment of psychological consequences following facial trauma.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in which a web-based structured questionnaire was sent to Oral and maxillofacial surgeons and trainees.

Results: Majority of respondents (85.2%) had encountered psychological problems in patients who have sustained facial trauma. Half (50.6%) of OMFS / trainees had high level of knowledge regarding psychological problems associated with facial trauma; depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, body image disorder and acute stress syndrome were the five most common trauma related psychological problems mentioned. More respondents reported low level of competence in conducting mental state examination when compared to other skill sets. In-unit counselling was reported as the method of intervention by majority (69.1 %), followed by referral to the mental health specialists (17.3%). More than one third (40.7%) of OMFS were extremely interested in undergoing additional training in the psychological assessment of patients who have sustained facial trauma.

Conclusion: Nigerian Oral and maxillofacial surgeons frequently encounter psychological problems in patients with traumatic facial injuries. Notwithstanding their perceived self-assessed low level of competence in psychological assessment of trauma patients, objective assessment revealed a relatively high level of knowledge of psychological problems that can affect the facial trauma patient with many indicating a high perceived need for additional training in the psychological assessment of facial trauma patient. There is a need for incorporating psychological assessment into the management to ensure holistic care of trauma patients.

Keywords: Maxillofacial trauma; Nigeria; psychological problems.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Facial Injuries* / psychology
  • Facial Injuries* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires