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WesternU Pumerantz Lecture focuses on oral and maxillofacial surgery

by Rodney Tanaka

October 1, 2023

Read 1 mins

Left to right: Drs. Jeffrey Elo, Elizabeth Andrews, and Bradley Henson. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine Professor Jeffrey Elo, DDS, MS, FACS, FACD, FICD, provided detailed descriptions of the fascinating and varied work performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMS) at the 13th Dr. Philip Pumerantz Distinguished Lectureship in Interprofessional Education, held Sept. 27, 2023 on WesternU’s Pomona, California campus.

Dr. Elaine Sarkaria and Pumerantz Lecture keynote speaker Dr. Jeffrey Elo. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

The lecture was established in 2009 in honor of WesternU’s founder and president emeritus, Dr. Philip Pumerantz, and is made possible thanks to a generous donation from Dr. Elaine Sarkaria, who attended the event, and the late Dr. Daljit Sarkaria of Orange, California.

WesternU Senior Vice Provost Bradley Henson, DDS, PhD, shared comments from President Robin Farias-Eisner, MD, PhD, MBA, who was traveling and unable to attend in person.

“Dr. Pumerantz, our founding president, was extremely passionate and committed to graduate higher education, as am I,” Farias-Eisner stated in his remarks. “We are thrilled and so grateful for the consistently high quality of speakers that the lecture series has attracted for over a decade.”

Dr. Elo is the College of Dental Medicine’s first Drs. Daljit and Elaine Sarkaria Professor of Advanced Oral Diagnosis and Therapeutics. The endowed professorship, supported by a generous donation from the Sarkaria family, will serve as the academic foundation and provide leadership in defining the vision and mission for WesternU CDM’s Center of Excellence in Advanced Oral Diagnosis and Therapeutics, whose work will advance oral health and help the College gain further national recognition and prominence within the dental profession to attract and educate the top future dental providers.

“Having a Sarkaria-funded professor deliver a Sarkaria-funded lecture is indeed a special occasion, and it seems like an appropriate time to once again thank the Sarkaria family for their generous support of WesternU,” Henson said. “I think you get a sense we’re really, really thankful.”

Keynote speaker Jeffrey Elo, DDS, MS, talks about the role of the oral and maxillofacial surgeon at the 13th Pumerantz Lecture. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

Elo explained the training that oral and maxillofacial surgeons receive and the types of surgical procedures they perform.

“OMSs are the only dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association that are surgically trained in a hospital-based residency program for a minimum of four years,” Elo said. “The training focuses on the bone, the skin, and the muscles of the face, mouth and jaws, in addition to the administration of in-office sedation and anesthesia.”

OMSs train extensively alongside medical residents in anesthesia, internal medicine, general surgery, cardiology, and many other specialties depending on the program.

“OMSs are an important link in the referral network for dentist and physicians, working with orthodontists, general dentists, restorative dentists, and a whole myriad of different physicians in the medical hospital setting,” Elo said.

Elo provided in-depth details of two cases. The first was virtual surgical planning for mandibular tumor removal and immediate reconstruction. After examining and diagnosing the patient, he took a medical CT scan of the maxillofacial and mandibular areas. He then held a virtual surgical planning session with a biomedical engineer from the planned plating company – in this case KLS Martin – to pre-perform the procedure on the computer.

“Once we pre-perform the procedure that allows us to fabricate a custom resection guide that tells us exactly where we want to make the cuts. So where I make the cut on the computer screen is where I want to make the cut once I get the patient to the operating room,” Elo said. “Then we can fabricate a custom reconstruction plate. Otherwise, I’ve got to try to bend what looks like a bicycle chain to fit the contour of the jaw. That could be very difficult and time consuming, so we try to do that with a custom titanium plate, which saves us a few hours of operating time.”

Elo closed his presentation with a case involving a woman who was injured in a bike accident. She sustained multiple complex fractures when a motor vehicle hit her, causing her to hit a tree. The virtual planning, operation, and dramatic results are worth viewing, so please watch the Pumerantz Lecture video embedded here.

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