South African maxillofacial and oral surgeons among the most respected in the world

Local experts impart their knowledge to surgeons from around the globe

Thursday, July 17 2014

Few people may know that orthognathic surgery involves procedures to correct anomalies of the jaw and face. They may also be surprised to learn that South Africa has some of the world’s most renowned orthognathic surgeons and that our country has become an internationally acclaimed training destination in this field.

Local expertise in the field of orthognathic surgery is evidenced by the fact that South African surgeons were involved in the training of specialists from all over the world at the Masterclass in Orthognathic Surgery, which was held at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital recently.

According to Professor Johan Reyneke, who organises this annual masterclass and is the director of the Centre for Orthognathic Surgery at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital, the highly interactive and practical class was this year attended by 10 surgeons from Holland, Italy, Botswana, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico. The class is restricted to 10 delegates to ensure that each of the participants receives personalised attention. Participants hailed it as a great success, and expressed their excitement regarding what they had learned.

The course offered participants an intensive practical approach to the correction of dento-facial anomalies. Interactive sessions covered the fundamental principles of the management of malocclusions, a misalignment between the teeth of the two dental arches; clinical facial assessment; diagnosis; treatment planning and surgical technique. Live surgery was used to demonstrate surgical technique.

The training was done by Prof Reyneke and Prof Carlo Ferretti, who are maxillo-facial and oral surgeons, and are recognised as among the foremost authorities in the field. Both are in high demand to lecture and present courses around the world on orthognathic surgery. Prof Reyneke was even invited to deliver the highly prestigious Presidential Lecture to 4 000 delegates at the October 2013 International Conference on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Barcelona, Spain. Prof Carlo Ferretti practises in both the private and public sectors and has been awarded numerous academic awards for excellence in academic surgery. Dr Jacques Beukes, a maxillofacial and oral surgeon who practices at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital assisted the two surgeons in some of the classes.

Jacques du Plessis, managing director of the Netcare Hospital division, says, “South Africans can hold their heads high regarding our leadership in the field of orthognathic surgery. Netcare Sunninghill Hospital was honoured to once again host the masterclass, and have such outstanding practitioners as Prof Reyneke and Prof Carlo Ferretti lead the event. They are both pioneers in their field and have dedicated themselves to sharing their vast knowledge with other local and international surgeons.”

Prof Reyneke says that the field of orthognathic surgery is a highly specialised and important one. It is performed by oral and maxillio-facial surgeons to correct a range of minor and major skeletal and dental deformities, including the misalignment of facial structures and teeth.

“There is often a misconception that the work of a surgeon in this field is purely cosmetic. While this can be an important part of their work, it is vital to note that facial anomalies can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. They may, for example, be unable to chew, struggle to breathe, suffer medical conditions such as sleep apnoea or be shunned by society because of their unusual appearance,” explains Prof Reyneke.

“Many of our patients are children who have been born with an anomaly such as missing half their lower jaw. Besides being highly destructive to a child’s self-esteem, if it is not repaired such a deformity may severely impact eating and speech as well as the child’s physical and mental development and social integration.”

“Prof Reyneke’s Centre for Orthognathic Surgery at the Netcare Sunninghill Hospital has for years been playing a critical role in South African medicine by literally giving patients back their lives,” concludes Du Plessis.

Issued by : Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Sarah Beswick or Jillian Penaluna
Telephone : (011) 469 3016
Email :,, or