Patient reported outcomes (PRO) have an established role when reporting treatment outcomes. This data is usually collected using patient self-completed questionnaires. There are numerous questionnaires available and selecting the most appropriate one can be difficult. Aim The aim of this article was to carry out a systematic review of the literature to identify publications using patient self-completed questionnaires suitable for oral and maxillofacial surgery. The questionnaires were collated and grouped according to sub-speciality interests. Method The ISI search engine with cross-reference using Pub Med and Ovid was searched for publications between 1981 and March 2009. Abstracts written in English were reviewed by two of the authors independently. Results A total of 511 abstracts were reviewed and the paper cites 56 studies with self-administered instruments. The number of subsite specific questionnaires identified were; cleft lip and palate (1), craniofacial surgery (2), dentoalveolar surgery (6), distraction osteogenesis (1), facial aesthetic surgery (4), facial pain (1), head and neck cancer (14), maxillofacial injury (3), oral medicine and oral mucosal disorders (2), orthognathic surgery (1), pre-prosthetic surgery and dental implants (15), skull base surgery (7), temporomandibular joint (2). Conclusion There is a tremendous variety of validated questionnaires available that are suitable for oral and maxillofacial surgery. This summary serves as a useful reference point when selecting a questionnaire for an audit or research projects. It also describes publications, which have used the various questionnaires, thus readily identifying papers that might be useful for comparison.