What Are Your Options After MDS (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery)

Confused about what to do after completing MDS (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery)? Look no more. Here’s a handy guide for you./p>

Congratulations! So, you have completed your MDS (OMFS) recently and are keeping real busy. 

Busy twiddling your thumbs wondering what to do next. Several doubts about your future must be giving you sleepless nights. There might be pressures of different kinds, the foremost being how to start earning a livelihood. You would be looking at your seniors and ex-faculty members for inspiration as well as poring over newspapers and employment sites for jobs. 

Firstly, don’t worry! You are not alone and certainly, not the first one to be scared about your future. Every new postgraduate student faces this dilemma but most of them overcome this fear and find a path that suits them best.

There are several options immediately available to a greenhorn OMF surgeon which can broadly be divided into two priority areas. One is to start earning a livelihood immediately and the second is to further train in a subspecialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery. To choose between the two, one must honestly assess one’s own capabilities as a surgeon. 

If you have worked hard in your MDS and have a reasonable skill set which includes performing a wide variety of minor surgical procedures independently, including implantology and trauma, and if you want to get into clinical practice, you may do so with confidence. You may work independently or as part of a team providing oral surgery cover to dental practitioners, private hospitals, and nursing homes. You can also start your own exclusive oral and dental surgery center. 

With amazing surgical skills, if you have had a good academic career and have embellished your CV with publications, presentations as well as extracurricular activities, you can also opt for the teaching field to enlighten students with your knowledge.

During your postgraduation, some of you must have realized the vast scope of modern oral and maxillofacial surgery and decided to specialize in a niche area, like cleft surgery, trauma, cancer surgeries, etc.

There are several fellowship programs that you can join for better career opportunities. You can be a part of programs conducted by the Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of India (AOMSI). Apart from this, there is a full spectrum of training positions offered by various other special interest groups within and outside the maxillofacial fraternity. These associations are not restricted to maxillofacial surgery but include allied specialties, both from dental and medical backgrounds, making them more comprehensive. A few other oral & maxillofacial fellowships are: 

AOCMF, the craniomaxillofacial division of the Swiss foundation -ArbeitsgemeinschaftfürOsteosynthesefragen (AO), offers fellowships in facial trauma, head and neck oncology, reconstruction, orthognathic/craniofacial surgery, among others and goes on for 4–8 (exceptionally, up to 12) weeks. These fellowships are offered by centers not only in India but also in various countries around the world, including Austria, Chile, China, Germany, Great Britain, France, Hong Kong, Iran, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the US.

The Foundation for Head & Neck Oncology (FHNO) has 14 accredited centers all over the country, which accept maxillofacial surgeons for fellowships in oral oncology for two years.

There are several other oral oncology fellowships available for maxillofacial surgeons offered by organizations that are deeply involved in cancer management. The venerable ‘Tata Memorial Hospital’ has offered the ‘Homi Bhabha National Institute Fellowship’ in ‘Oral Oncology with Reconstructive Surgery’ for 2 years. ‘Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology’, Bangalore has had a long-standing fellowship program for OMFS in Oral Oncology for 1½ years. Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC) at Thalassery also has a fellowship program in Oral Oncology. Fellowships in Head & Neck Oncology are offered by Kailash Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Muni Seva Ashram, Goraj; Asian Hospital, Faridabad & Rama Dental College, Hospital and Research Centre, Kanpur.

The International Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (IAOMS) Foundation also awards three Fellowships: two in ‘Oral and Maxillofacial Oncologic and reconstructive Surgery’ and one in ‘Cleft Lip & Palate and Craniofacial Surgery’. The Oncologic & Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship is a twelve-month program that takes place in Shanghai and Beijing, while the ‘Cleft Lip & Palate and Craniofacial Surgery’ fellowship is a twelve-month program that is conducted in Bangalore and Hyderabad.

There are several other fellowships available in cleft surgery for maxillofacial surgeons. The Indian Society of Cleft Lip, Palate, and Craniofacial Anomalies (ISCLPCA) commenced a clinical research fellowship for one year in 2017. Sponsored by the ‘Smile train’ and ‘Johnson & Johnson Cleft’, the Craniofacial Center, Sri Ramachandra University at Chennai has a 6-12 months fellowship program in Cleft Lip, Palate, and Craniofacial Surgery.

Hyderabad Cleft Society also sponsors the fellowship in Cleft and Craniofacial surgery of 1½ years and is based at the GSR Institute of Craniomaxillofacial& Facial Plastic Surgery, Hyderabad. A cleft and craniofacial fellowship program under ‘Cleft Children International’ is also provided by ‘Meenakshi Cleft & Craniofacial Centre’, Chennai.

There are also several fellowships in implantology and cosmetic surgeries available to those maxillofacial surgeons who want to specialize in these procedures. Dr. D. Y. PatilVidyapeeth, Pune, offers a fellowship in Dental Implantology in association with the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. It is a 1 year surgical & prosthodontic program designed for dental surgeons who have received an MDS degree with a 3-year curriculum in the disciplines of Periodontics, Prosthodontics, or Maxillofacial Surgery. Similarly, Chennai Dental Research Foundation (CDRF) offers a fellowship in dental implantology like the Institute of Laser & Aesthetic Medicine in Oral & Maxillofacial Implantology.

In 2016, D.Y.Patil University (DYPU), Navi Mumbai, and the Cosmetic Surgery Institute (CSI) announced an ‘Advanced Cosmetic Medicine and Surgery Fellowship’ (1 year) for dermatologists, plastic surgeons, otolaryngologists, and maxillofacial surgeons.

Apart from specialized fellowship programs, which mandate a certain duration of training to be completed in a recognized unit, maxillofacial surgeons can opt for an examination-based evaluation of their clinical practice, academic, teaching, and such professional activities and become fellows of the Indian Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (IBOMS). The International Board for the Certification of Specialists in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (IBCSOMS) also conducts its examination in India since 2016, and its fellowship is recognized globally.

Another examination-based qualification that can be acquired is the MFDS (Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery). The exam is offered by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and both Parts 1 & 2 of the examination are conducted in India. This diploma is recognized globally as the hallmark of professional achievement and is used in a wide number of countries as the benchmark standard for local postgraduate assessments.

Since 2019, another avenue for further training (and qualification) has become available to Indian maxillofacial surgeons. All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh has started a 4-year MCh in Craniomaxillofacial surgery for those candidates having an MDS (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery) or MS (General Surgery).

Those young maxillofacial surgeons looking to attend short courses and workshops have a plethora of options available nowadays. As mentioned elsewhere, the Forum for the Advancement of Craniofacial Esthetics (FACE) has conducted workshops focused on orthognathic surgery since 1994. The Indian Society of Cosmetic Surgeons, the Indian Association of Reconstructive Microsurgery, and the newly formed Indian Society of TMJ Surgeons are the latest examples of special-interest groups, that conduct niche courses, workshops, and conferences periodically.

The Indian Academy of Maxillofacial Surgery whose stated objective is to train young maxillofacial surgeons through intensive workshops which are conducted in various parts of the country. One such program on Advanced Craniofacial Surgery is held annually at ‘Hitkarini Dental College & Hospital’ and ‘Jabalpur Hospital and Research Centre’, which is quite sought-after among trainees and recently graduated surgeons. However, many of these fellowships and workshops are not counted as teaching experiences!

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