"There are around 3,000 maxillofacial surgeons registered with the Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of India (AOMSI). This number is not sufficient at all," said Srijon Mukherji, a leading maxillofacial surgeon, on the occasion of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon's day here.
Oral cancer is a leading cancer in India and the numbers are growing. "We need more surgeons to tackle this," said Mukherji, director and chief surgeon, Calcutta Institute of Maxillofacial Surgery and Research.
Mukherji also said in the private sector in the metro cities, "the number is probably fine but outside major cities and in rural areas we do not get many maxillofacial surgeons".
Maxillofacial surgeons treat hard and soft tissue injuries of face, all tumours of mouth, face, jaws and neck, oral cancer and birth defects like cleft lip and palate and other congenital facial deformities.
According to Amit Roy, consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon of Fortis Hospital, the number of trainees will eventually fulfill the requirement in the next five to eight years.
"We do need a lot more maxillofacial surgeons, but the number of post graduate trainees who are in the pipeline will fulfill the requirement to some extent. In about five to eight years' time, we will come to the situation where we can say that we will get maxillofacial surgery uniformly in both rural and urban areas," said Roy.
In terms of international standards, Mukherji feels that in many aspects of maxillofacial surgery India is at par with the most developed countries, but quality needs to be uniform.
"There are many points in India where maxillofacial surgery is at par with the most developed part of the world. We are at par but the quality is not uniform. Both rural and urban areas should have uniform quality," said Roy.