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Decreasing Risks in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

An analysis of MedPro Group closed claims data from 2008-2017 showed that technical skill issues appeared in 75 percent of the oral and maxillofacial surgery claims. Additionally, clinical judgment appeared in 49 percent of those claims, and communication issues appeared in 36 percent.

MedPro Group has devised the following high-level strategies related to surgery to promote patient safety and minimize potential liability. Consistently employing these strategies may help reduce any unintended consequences or adverse outcomes in performing oral and maxillofacial surgery.


  1. Uphold a standardized informed consent process in your practice that includes common and significant risks related to the patient and the procedure.

  2. As part of the informed consent process, think about whether the patients have realistic expectations of the surgical outcomes.

  3. Be sure to document the informed consent process, including discussion of risks, benefits, and other treatment options, and place any signed forms in the patient’s record.

  4. When speaking with patients about procedures, treatment plans, anticipated benefits, possible risks, and other options, do so by using layman’s terms. Reinforce patients’ comprehension of the procedure by asking them to repeat back to you in their words what will occur.

  5.  If you have patients who have limited English proficiency or disabilities, employ interpreters and auxiliary aids so you can better communicate with them and explain informed consent.

  6. Ensure that all relevant health information for each patient is available before a procedure is started.

  7. Give patients and/or their caregivers both written and verbal instructions related to their treatment plans and follow-up care after a procedure.

  8. Maintain a consistent postoperative discharge assessment process, and be attuned to any repeated patient complaints or concerns when making clinical decisions about patient care.

  9. Strengthen your surgical skills by completing continuing dental education and staying abreast of the latest research and drug modalities.

  10. If you’re a hospital-based oral and maxillofacial surgeon, engage in peer review activities to enhance surgical performance/quality.

  11. If you’re a hospital-based oral and maxillofacial surgeon, make certain that your facility complies with credentialing policies, including the evaluation of each provider’s surgical skills and competency with surgical equipment.


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