- MB BcH
- FDSRCS (England & Edinburgh)
- FRCS (England & Edinburgh)
Training and Education
Professor V. Ilankovan is a Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon at Poole Hospital in Dorset and Medical Director of the Wentworth Clinic. He obtained his medical degree in 1984 from the Welsh National School of Medicine after initially graduating in dentistry in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
He received a Fellowship in Surgery, Maxillofacial Surgery and Dentistry from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and England. His post-graduate training took him across the UK from Wales to Scotland to the well-renowned Canniesburn Hospital in Glasgow and then to the southeast, where he finally settled down in Dorset in 1993.
He also trained at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA and practised in cleft lip and palate surgery in India and additionally trained in head and neck surgery in Beijing, China.
Over 90 publications in his name
Prof. Ilankovan has more than ninety publications in peer-reviewed journals and various chapters in books. His book was also published in April 2015, entitled, ‘Local Flaps and Facial Reconstruction; ‘a defective based approach’.
Consultant maxillofacial surgeon at Poole Hospital
When he was appointed as Consultant to Dorset, he set up the Head and Neck Service at Poole Hospital which is now an extremely thriving unit with six surgeons and two oncologists. Prof. Ilankovan started a microvascular service at the hospital and has developed various innovative techniques in reconstruction.
Innovative new techniques
His anatomical research into the transconjunctival approach identified a new plane which has revolutionised transconjunctival blepharoplasty (lower eyelid surgery). This anatomical finding is the basis for the “septal reset” approach in a lower blepharoplasty.
Prof. Ilankovan is a keen promoter of using the calvarial bone (skull bone) in reconstructive surgery and promotes minimal access in surgery.
In 1998, he published a research paper on the tibial trephine bone grafting technique which won the BAOMS award.
He published the technique of minimal access neck dissection with simultaneous free flap reconstruction. This is the innovative ‘keyhole’ cancer surgery.
He is one of the few Maxillofacial Surgeons in the UK who practice and promote facial aesthetic surgery for trainees and surgeons. He is the Founding Fellow and Honorary Secretary of the Association of Facial Plastic Surgeons. In 2012, he gave the ‘BAOMS Oration’ at an international joint conference on the topic of; ‘Quest for Aesthetics’ explaining the close association of the past and present techniques of facial reconstruction versus facial rejuvenation and the quest for aesthetic surgery.
Skin cancer surgery service
The landmark presentation has been an instrument for trainees to take up the section of the speciality seriously. He set up the skin cancer surgery service in Dorset, working initially with five Dermatologists. This resulted in publications and presentations on various skin cancer care and management. Past trainees consider his unit as a ‘finishing school’ in head and neck reconstruction. His book, ‘local flaps in facial reconstruction; a defect based approach’ has been used by different specialities who are involved in skin cancer surgery.
Medical honours and affiliations
Prof. Ilankovan was honoured in 2011 by the Peking Union Medical School in Beijing with a Professorship in Head and Neck Surgery for his contribution towards this speciality. He is the first overseas surgeon to receive this award.
Bournemouth University offered a Personal Chair and he has set up the first MSC course in skin cancer.
He was elected president of the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in 2014 and his conference at the Edinburgh International Conference was recognised as the best in the last twenty years.
He was also elected as the Honorary Fellow of the American Association of Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Balkan Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. During his time as the President of BAOMS, he set up Fellowships for trainees to learn areas of speciality which is not available in the day-to-day practice, particularly in robotic surgery, facial reanimation, vascular malformation and aesthetic surgery. His main contribution now to Facial Aesthetics is introducing a minimal access procedure which simplifies facial aesthetics as a day case under local anaesthetic.
Charitable work and affiliations
In addition to these clinical duties, he takes exceptional care of patients and their families. He set up the ‘About Face’ charity, which is housed opposite Poole General Hospital and is probably the only Head and Neck Charity in the UK offering these faculties, providing support, counselling, and care for patients and families. The house also has a laboratory for trainees to practice skills and an up-to-date library. Internationally he has set up cleft care centres in India and an orphanage in Sri Lanka.