Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.
Oral and Maxillofacial Histopathology concerns the scientific study of the causes and effects of disease in the Oral and Maxillo-facial complex. Understanding this is essential for diagnosing and developing rational treatment and preventative programmes.
Leeds is now one of the busiest ‘Head & Neck’ pathology Units in the UK [>3000 specimens pa.]. We have 3 consultant staff, one StR and one ACF all based within the Pathology Department in the new Bexley Wing [built 2008] at St James’ Hospital. This is a fully accredited histopathology department, in a vibrant city, serving a large population base.
In Sheffield, the Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology service is based between Charles Clifford Dental Hospital and the Department of Histopathology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, both of which are on the main University Campus. This ISO:15198 accredited service accessions about 4500 specimens each year, covering the full range of Head and Neck Pathology specimens. The training centre is also a major centre for Academic Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, with 3 Clinical Academic Consultants and significant opportunity for research.
The number of specialist registrars in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology based at Sheffield (South Yorkshire) and Leeds (West and North Yorkshire) varies with approximately two trainees at each site. The clinical programme is designed to provide training towards a CCST in Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology. The curriculum for training will follow the national curriculum for Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology which is available on the GDC website. Training is undertaken following the guidelines of the Royal College of Pathologists and is normally for a period of 5 years. The first three years of training must include one year (or equivalent) training in general pathology and will prepare the trainee for the Part 1 FRCPath examination. This is followed by 2 years of more advanced specialty training in order to gain competencies in the full range of oral and maxillofacial and relevant head and neck and general pathology. Trainees can sit the FRCPath Part 2 examination after a minimum of 48 months of commencement of training. The successful candidate will join other trainees in Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology and will train in rotation with colleagues. There are numerous opportunities to get involved in teaching and research.
There are also academic ACF posts that provide an exciting opportunity to combine clinical training in Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology with research training. Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) are 3-year fixed-term national training posts, which attract an NTN(A). Trainees undertake 75% clinical and 25% academic training, which will be achieved through a rotational system, with dedicated periods devoted to research. Academic Clinical Fellows join the ACF programme within the Graduate School of the Faculties of Medicine/Dentistry and undertake a Masters as a part of their training.
OMFP trainees use an online trainee portfolio through The Royal College of Pathologists.
The Unit of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology is an academic unit with responsibilities for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and provision of a specialist, diagnostic head and neck reporting service. The Unit also has an international reputation for high quality research.
Research in the Unit lies mainly within the Integrated Biosciences research group of the School of Clinical Dentistry, and is focused on microbiological and immunological aspects of oral disease and on Head and Neck cancer, including biomarker discovery and the biology of the tumour microenvironment. The Unit accommodation is on the third floor of the modern Dental School building, which contains recently refurbished and extended core laboratories with state-of-the-art facilities, including for cell culture, cell and moleocular biology, histology and microscopy and image analysis.
The Faculty of Medicine and Health is a major international centre for research and education. With around 1600 staff and 6500 students it is the largest faculty in the University comprising the Leeds Dental Institute, the School of Healthcare, the School of Medicine and the Institute of Psychological Sciences. It contributes one quarter of the University’s annual turnover and generates around £35m in annual research income, demonstrating its status as one of the most important and powerful research institutions in the UK.
There are good research links with the Section of Pathology and Tumour Biology of the University of Leeds, housed in the new Welcome Trust Brenner Building on the St James’s site. There are also strong links with Oral Biological Sciences, a significant strength of the Dental School whose key research theme and aspiration is translation of innovative scientific development into clinical practice.
"I think Leeds histopathology department is an excellent unit for Head and Neck pathology training as we report a wide range of specimens including oral and maxillofacial, ENT and thyroid glands.
Trainees also benefit from good general pathology training as we are integrated with general pathology and have excellent specialist histopathologists in various subspecialities.
There are good opportunities to participate in clinically relevant research projects as we have Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine which provides excellent infrastructure and expertise for the same."
Consultant in Oral Maxillofacial Histopathology, Leeds
“The Clinical School of Dentistry, Sheffield, is an excellent centre to undertake Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology specialty training. Here, you will become an integral part of the Oral pathology department, reporting a wide range of specimens from the head and neck, with a particular emphasis on oral, dental and salivary gland disease. Alongside this, we receive both national and international referrals, giving us exposure to particularly complex and interesting cases.
General pathology training is undertaken close by in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, with whom we have good links and exposure to expert pathologists from other sub-specialities.
At Sheffield, our department is integrated with academic researchers and we lead several aspects of Undergraduate Dental teaching, therefore there are excellent opportunities for, and you will be actively encouraged to get involved with, both teaching and research within the Dental School.”
StR in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Sheffield
Training in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
I have really enjoyed my speciality training within the Yorkshire and Humber deanery where I have been based at The School of Clinical Dentistry in Sheffield. This role was a significant change to my previous experience both working in general dental practice and as a DCT in OMFS as there is little to no direct patient contact within Oral Pathology, however the team are extremely welcoming and made the transition to working within laboratory medicine seamless. As part of the curriculum trainees must undertake a year of training within General Pathology. In Sheffield this is completed at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital (RHH). As the laboratories used by the Oral Pathology department are based within the main Histopathology department at RHH, trainees are already familiar with the protocols in place and the staff within the Histopathology department.
Speciality training at Sheffield in Oral Pathology gives trainees excellent opportunities to become involved in the Undergraduate Dental programme at the University of Sheffield and I have delivered lectures, assisted with digital pathology teaching sessions and led small group case seminar teaching for final year students. The department has an international reputation for high quality research and permits trainees the opportunity to become involved with research projects, allowing for the combination of clinical and academic study. Personally I really enjoy the ‘problem solving’ aspect of the job and feel mentally stimulated by my work. Despite the role not having direct patient contact I feel that the work we do makes a vital contribution in the patient care pathway which makes the job very rewarding.
Top 5 things I enjoy about the training programme in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology:
- Excellent opportunities to be involved in the delivery of Undergraduate Dental teaching.
- Opportunities to present cases and attend both national and international pathology conferences.
- The learning never stops! With advances in research there are always new things to learn and new entities being discovered which has continued to feed my interest within the subject field.
- Opportunities to be involved with research projects.
- The variety of cases that trainees have exposure to. It is very satisfying to finally achieve an answer for a challenging case!
Designed by H Walsh, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology trainee, 2021