New facial surgery at Health Sciences North

Dr. Christa Favot (right), performs HSN’s first first cadaveric nerve graft on a patient with a benign tumour (neuroma) on one of the nerves in the jaw, under the supervision of visiting surgeon Dr. David Lam (left) of the University of Toronto.

SUDBURY, ON–For some people, a traumatic facial injury such as a tumour, broken jaw, or even a serious tooth extraction can lead to constant pain and the loss of other sensations in the jaw.

That constant pain could be a thing of the past for one patient in Greater Sudbury, thanks to a procedure performed this month for the first time at Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord (HSN).

Dr. Christa Favot, an oral-maxillofacial surgeon, performed HSN’s first cadaveric nerve graft on a patient with a benign tumour (neuroma) on one of the nerves in the jaw. Dr. Favot removed the tumour and part of the existing nerve, and replaced it with a 5-centimetre portion of nerve provided by a donor.

Guiding Dr. Favot in the procedure was Dr. David Lam, Head of Oral & MaxilloFacial Surgery and Director of the Translational Orofacial Pain Research Laboratory at the University of Toronto.

“I was thrilled when Dr. Lam accepted the invitation to come to Sudbury to help introduce this procedure,” says Dr. Christa Favot. “He is a leader in this field, a fabulous mentor and an advocate for collaborative surgical education. I was proud to host him at Health Sciences North, and be able to bring this offer this specialized surgery to our patients.”

“Trigeminal nerve injuries present complex clinical challenges and can be very distressing for patients, resulting in abnormal and painful sensations of the face. It was a pleasure to work with Dr. Favot and the HSN team to provide a much needed service for this patient,” adds Dr. David Lam.

Each year, over 16,000 surgeries are performed at HSN. HSN is the main referral centre in Northeastern Ontario for cardiac, cancer, orthopedic, and trauma surgery.

“Congratulations to Dr. Favot and the entire surgical program for bringing this procedure to HSN for the benefit of our patients, “adds Dr. Denis Roy, HSN’s President and CEO. “Over and over again, the surgical team at HSN has demonstrated the desire and drive to embrace new procedures that lead to better outcomes and faster recoveries for our patients, which goes right to the heart of our strategic priorities of innovation and excellence in patient-centred care. Keep up the great work.”