Cooling face mask improves patient recovery after surgery

A team of specialist consultants in NHS Tayside has undertaken an evaluation study which has shown that using a cooling face mask can improve pain control and swelling in patients who have undergone oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the surgical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws, face and neck. Surgical treatment in maxillofacial patients typically causes significant tissue trauma resulting in severe postoperative pain and swelling.

The team tested a cooling face mask, or hilotherm, which allows cold compression to be applied to the face at a regulated and constant temperature. The cooling mask promotes the healing of damaged tissue whilst also reducing pain intensity, swelling and the need for pain relief. It can also reduce the length of time a patient has to stay in hospital following their operation.

The evaluation study, which was supported by NHS Tayside Innovation, ran over eight months and looked at patient experience of using the mask following surgery and if it could improve postoperative care.

Mr Ghaly Ghaly, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon said, “We believe that this relatively inexpensive cooling mask can really benefit patients following surgery.

“Patients who used the cooling mask reported that it had a positive effect on their pain, swelling and recovery time. Continued use of the mask at home may also help patients manage their pain and swelling postoperatively, leading to a reduced stay in hospital.”

The study was carried out by Mr Ghaly Ghaly, Professor Grant McIntyre, Consultant and Honorary Professor in Orthodontics and Mr Gautham Sivamurthy, Honorary Consultant Orthodontist.

The team hopes to share the study and its findings at the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons meeting in June 2023.