Hidden talent from Calabria, plastic and maxillofacial surgeon: Luciano Catalfamo

yescalabria_lucianocatalfamo_01The only specialist in all the south who combines “plastic, reconstructive and maxillofacial surgery” is from Reggio and he won’t be renouncing his work here in Calabria, even though he always has his suitcase and is ready to fly, doing consulting work in the north!

We are talking about Dr. Luciano Catalfamo, boasting an ultra specialization in head and neck surgery and is one of the few distinguished professionals to become part of the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, the largest organization in the world of specialist surgeons for facial plastic surgery. The acquisition of the title requires a specific period of training. The organization, in fact, has a Board that legally recognizes and certifies surgeons with the expertise and experience in facial plastic surgery. His achievement came after an evaluation of his qualifications, passing an exam and test of actual surgical experience. In short … a difficult and demanding procedure, which few are able to achieve!

Not only that, Dr. Catalfamo is a university researcher with the role of adjunct professor at the School of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, a special department of the Experimental Surgery and Dentistry at the University of Messina.  His diverse publications can be found on “Pub Med,” the only official international body where the research of various specialists is published.  Catalfamo himself revealed that in searching for an accredited specialist, you can rely on this portal to verify their skills

We met Catalfamo to talk to him about this specialty of facial surgery, what it’s about and who is the typical patient.

I started as a plastic surgeon. After being abroad in different settings I furthered my studies in area of the face. Today I work in the area of head and neck cancer, head and neck malformations (i.e. with traffic accidents, genetic disorders such as cleft palate, and disfiguring tumors of the face), trauma surgery, diseases related to the oral cavity and the articulation of the lower jaw including related neuralgic diseases. These are diseases that the World Health Organization includes amongst the dysfunctions which alter one’s lifestyle and thus defines them as social pathologies.

So the maxillofacial surgery acts on a functional level, thus trying to solve physical problems that alter breathing ability, swallowing and phonation, it’s not just a cosmetic issue. In essence: maxillofacial plastic surgery helps one to live better?

Yes, definitely.  In merit of what has been declared by WHO, the two specialties are combined. I deal also with rhinoseptoplasty in patients who have undergone various interventions of the cleft palate and nose using both methods of plastic and maxillofacial surgery. The maxillofacial surgeon also intervenes in pathologies of the oral cavity, post trauma, such as in the case of bone deficit recovery to allow the installation of a prosthesis.

If I remember correctly, you have invented your own technique?

Yes. Actually, I continuously do field research  The technique to which you are referring is called Catalfamo-De Ponte (Director of the Graduate School of Maxillofacial in Messina and professor of maxillofacial surgery) and is used for the revision of outcomes of the malformed nasal cartilage as a result of congenital diseases or other surgeries.

From what you are saying, it’s easy to understand that the maxillofacial surgeon must have much skill. How long is the course of study?

Pretty long, it takes approximately 15 years of study to become established. There are only a few who specialize in this area. In Sicily, for example, they managed to accept only two students. Also in Italy each year there are not many specialized in this area, about 50.

Do you have any advice for kids who are graduating and have decided to enroll in medicine to undertake your specialization?

Follow the excellent course of medicine and general surgery; then further those studies in the specialized Italian schools and subsequently specialize in one of several maxillofacial disciplines: oncology, trauma and malformation.

Currently, how many maxillofacial surgeons are operating in our territory?

Not many. In Reggio my colleagues Peppe Lombardo and Carla Nava operate, while in Catanzaro there is  the graduate school specializing in maxillofacial chaired by professor and Doctor Mario Giudice. I work also in Cosenza. We are all recognized professionals with accredited experience.

Finally, there is no need to take a trip to see a specialist in maxillofacial surgery. We have skilled professionals in our area and most of all: we must not be judgemental about this branch of medicine. Those who choose it choose not only for vanity purposes. The functional problems of the face, head and neck can cause serious psychological imbalances that compromise the quality of life.

For more information on maxillo – facial surgery, or to schedule a visit with Dr. Luciano Catalfamo you can send an email to lc.lab@hotmail.it, or contact him directly on his cell phone +39 3292757867.