For many years, patients who needed advanced oral and facial surgery had limited choices for treatment. For elective procedures, patients had a choice to stay here or go out of town for help. If they chose to go outside of Kamloops, follow up treatments for many procedures consisted of heading to Kelowna or some other centre, requiring a fairly lengthy drive and often discomfort for the patient.
Additional resources have now been added here in Kamloops. Dr. Peter Stefanuto, who brings his years of specialized training to the city with his state-of-the art treatment centre. Apex Surgical, located at 206- 755 McGill Road, near the TRU campus, has a fully-equipped facility. Dr. Stefanuto says “we have a complete team consisting of a surgeon, nurses and anaesthesiologists who can take care of most aspects of oral and facial surgery, except for trauma cases or patients who require hospitalization.
Dr. Stefanuto started work on his practice in 2016, but it was in September 2017 that he was able to get fully operational. “To put our design in place, to put all the equipment together, was a major undertaking”, he says, “and we wanted to make sure all the requirements and specifications were met to the highest level before we moved forward.”
Apex Surgical can basically look after most of the oral and facial surgical needs for the area. It’s a highly specialized practice, and one that’s very limited in this region. Dr. Stefanuto says the big advantage of a facility like Apex is that patients can get their treatment and follow-up done right here at home. He says “this centre means that people can get their surgery, whether it be wisdom teeth dental extractions, implants, or reconstructive facial surgery done in Kamloops. And it means the patient can stay right here for follow-up without having to go to another centre.”
The practice deals with not only oral surgical issues, but obstructive sleep apnea, which is becoming a significant health problem in today’s world, jaw realignment, malformation and post-traumatic reconstruction. It’s not a cosmetic practice, but one dealing with referrals from dentists or dental surgeons, orthodontists and physicians. There is a small walk-in component as well, but he says they’re not a first line service for dentistry, but are here to augment the care provided by the general dentist/dental surgeon.
It’s taken a lot of training and a lot of planning to get things where they are today. Dr. Stefanuto is a board-certified Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, which, in a nutshell, means he’s highly qualified. He got his Bachelor of Science at Waterloo, then added his Doctor of Dental Surgery. He practiced dentistry for three years before going to Dalhousie University in the 6-year Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery programme. He has also completed his MD (Medical Doctor) degree and has a Masters in Science. But all this means nothing if you don’t have the relationship with your patients.
Dr. Stefanuto places a high value on trust and caring. “We aim to provide the highest level of care, and very complete facilities,” but adds “these are all well and good, but patients and their parents want to be able to trust the surgical team. That’s critical to their care. They have to feel comfortable with us. I’m a father of two. I totally get it. That’s why we try to make sure our patients are completely comfortable with what we’re doing.”
Dr. Stefanuto built his practice modelled on his experiences in Halifax. He says it’s a common model on the East Coast and Alberta and he thinks it’s ideally suited for a place like Kamloops. And he wants to be here for a long time to come. He says “my family and I chose to come here because we love the lifestyle, and are a fit with the people who live here; it’s an up and coming city. When we checked all the boxes, Kamloops filled all our criteria.” Coupling that with a practice that provides another local alternative to going out of town and getting treatment here is the icing on the cake. “We want to be an integral part of the community and do everything we can to make this a better place to live. As we grow, and more people realize they can get a referral from their dentist or doctor to our facility, it will provide us even greater opportunities to serve.” And for Dr. Peter Stefanuto and the team at Apex Surgical, that would be a dream come true.
- Written by CFJC Today staff with files and information supplied by Apex Surgical.
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