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NEWS | Jan. 7, 2014

One in 40: New services come to USAF Hospital Langley

By Staff Sgt. Wesley Farnsworth 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The mission of U.S. Air Force Hospital Langley is to provide the best possible care to Service members, dependents and retirees. To carry out this mission, the hospital recently added a new surgery specialty, maxillofacial surgery, which is currently performed by less than 40 surgeons across the Air Force.

Maxillofacial surgeons are able to perform many different surgeries that focus on the face and neck, such as oral surgery, corrective jaw surgery, obstructive sleep apnea surgery, bone grafting, repair of complex lacerations of the head and neck, and soft-tissue biopsies of the face.

"Maxillofacial surgical specialists are critical to providing life-saving care for patients who have experienced significant facial, head and neck trauma resulting from battlefield injury or other means," said U.S. Air Force Col. Donald Sedberry, 633rd Dental Squadron commander. "They play an import role with facial reconstruction and rehabilitation of Service members recovering from facial injuries."

U.S. Air Force Maj. Melissa Fisher, 633rd Medical Group oral and maxillofacial surgeon, began offering these procedures after arriving at Langley in July 2013.

"We are the experts of facial, jaw and mouth surgery," said Fisher, a native of Decatur, Ill. "We can operate on anything from small lumps and bumps on the gums to major injuries like a gunshot wound."

In addition to both life-saving and cosmetic benefits, Fisher also helps provide substantial financial savings to the Air Force by operating on Service members or dependents who would otherwise be sent to an off-base provider for their surgery.

"By providing these services here, we are able to do things at a fraction of the cost," said Fisher. "If we were to send a patient into the community to get some of the procedures done, [it] would [cost] more in the long run."

Although Fisher is able to perform major surgeries, which may be covered by insurance, the clinic is also able to offer referral-based elective cosmetic surgeries that could save patients up to 30-percent than having it done by a civilian surgeon.

Some elective cosmetic surgeries offered include facial cosmetic and rejuvenation surgeries such as ear pinning and liposuction as well as injectable fillers for lips, wrinkles, upper and lower eyelid augmentation and brow lifts.

"I knew when I entered this career field I wanted to do surgeries that would bring excitement and joy to patients' lives," said Fisher. "It feels amazing to offer these surgeries to active-duty members, dependents and retirees."

Patients desiring to have cosmetic surgery done must first receive a referall from their primary care manager, then schedule a consultation with the oral and maxillofacial surgery clinic.

With so many new elective and non-elective surgeries being offered at USAF Hospital Langley, the hospital's goal of improving patient services will continue to expand.

For more information on surgeries and consultations, call the Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic at 764-7124.