You may experience a wide range of difficulties and problems during treatment or afterwards as a long-term or permanent consequence of treatment. Well established ways to deal with such issues exist, in some areas new and fresh thinking is emerging - in all cases it is crucially important to put you (back) in control of your life. There are so many different ways in which you can massively improve outcomes and the quality of your life by actively working toward such goals. The best way forward is to be knowledgeable and realistic about various options, and to be prepared for positive surprises about how much a range of everyday exercises, tricks, change of routines, and so on can actually achieve!
Physiotherapy plays an important role to get you ‘out and about’ in the short term as well as to optimise long-term outcomes; some patience and perseverance may be required.
The best possible oral hygiene routines, both on a daily basis at home and with professional support, will pay ample dividend. You can enormously improve your oral health as well as your overall well-being. Unsurprisingly many aspects of eating and drinking feature prominently with many maxillofacial patients, from minor problems to severe disruptions, including temporary or permanent need for non-oral feeding.
Speech and language therapy will place a focus on speech and language skills, but will also pay attention to your ability and techniques to swallow safely.
Return to work after treatment may benefit from some adjustments to your work routines, occupational health support helps with the process.
Your treatment may not only affect physical functions such as swallowing or walking, it may also have an impact on your social interactions such as intimacy and sex and your mental health. An interactive tool for self-assessment may help you reflect on the state of affairs and to prepare for clinic appointments.
Last but not least there is always much to be learned from the experts by experience: fellow patients and carers. Their stories highlight ups and downs, potential pitfalls, great ideas and stamina, mutual support, and this all important ingredient – a sense of humour.