Background Due to the COVID-19 pandemic orthognathic surgery was suspended in the UK. The effect this had on patients, to date, is unknown. Aim: A multi-centre, cross-sectional survey was conducted in the UK to investigate the health-related impact for patients on the orthognathic surgery pathway, including those on the waiting list for surgery. Method: A structured questionnaire was designed to explore the impact of the pandemic on the patients whose orthognathic treatment was temporarily cancelled. Results: Ninety-five questionnaires were returned giving a response rate of 65%. When asked if the delay due to the pandemic had caused emotional distress, 63% (51/81) agreed. Respondents experienced more distress, in relation to dental appearance (60%, 51/83), self-confidence (52% 50/83), facial appearance (53%, 44/83) and ability to eat and chew (59%, 50/83) during the pandemic. One hundred percent of patients would have had appliances fitted or their appliances adjusted during the pandemic and 93% percent of patients stated that they would attend for surgery if they were offered this during the pandemic. In conclusion, patients appear to have experienced emotional distress in relation to the delay with their orthognathic treatment. The patients should be given greater priority, during the remobilisation of elective surgery. They should have access to ongoing psychological support, where delays affect their treatment. The “surgery-first” approach may be considered, for suitable patients, to minimise the duration of the treatment journey.


© 2021 The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Cite as

Wemyss, C., Benington, P., Chung, L., El-Angbawi, A. & Ayoub, A. 2021, 'The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on orthognathic patients - what have we learned?', The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 2022. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjoms.2021.11.017

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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