To begin, what is corrective jaw surgery?
Corrective Jaw Surgery, also known as Orthognathic Surgery, is performed to correct irregularities or misalignments in the jaw and teeth. The procedure aims to improve both function and appearance. Recovery experiences can vary, but here are some general expectations:
Immediately After Surgery:
- Hospital Stay: You might spend a night or two in the hospital for monitoring.
- Pain and Discomfort: Pain and discomfort are common; however, most patients have very well-controlled pain after surgery. Medications will be prescribed to manage these symptoms though.
- Restricted Diet: Initially, you’ll be on a liquid or soft food diet to aid in healing and prevent stress on your jaw.
- Swelling: Swelling is typical and might peak in the first few days and gradually improves over a few weeks.
- Nasal Congestion or Breathing Difficulty: When and if upper jaw surgery is performed, nasal congestion will occur. Breathing can be difficult initially; however, it routinely improves over the next couple weeks.
- Numbness: Sensory changes of multiple facial regions is very common after surgery. This is due to the unique nature of the facial anatomy during jaw surgery. During your consultation, these risks and expected timeframes will be reviewed in depth with Dr. Fathimani.
First Few Weeks:
- Healing Time: Initial recovery might take a few weeks. Most physical swelling will subside during this period.
- Follow-up appointments: Having done hundreds of jaw surgeries, Dr. Fathimani has a very specific follow-up routine that fits best for his patients. These follow-ups begin during the first day or week after surgery and will continue over the next few months.
- Gradual Return to Normal Diet: As your jaw heals, you will transition from liquids to softer foods and eventually to a normal diet.
- Oral Hygiene: Maintaining proper oral hygiene is crucial for your healing as well as for your orthodontic follow-up.
Months After Surgery:
- Bone Healing: Complete bone healing will take several months. Full results and stability may take up to a year.
- Orthodontic Adjustments: Whether braces or Invisalign is used, orthodontic adjustments will continue for alignment.
- Return to normal activities: Gradual return to normal activity and exercise can commence usually by week 6-8. Dr. Fathimani will instruct you with more details during your recovery.
Long Term Expectations
- Improved Bite and Function: Corrective jaw surgery aims to improve bite, function, and facial appearance.
- Enhanced Confidence: Many patients experience improved self-esteem and confidence from both the functional and aesthetics changes.
- Post-operative Photos: Expect to have final results in 3-6 months at which time final photos will be taken. The limitation will be with swelling where in certain patients, residual swelling can linger on for up to 1 year.
- Follow Instructions: It’s crucial to follow post-operative care instructions given by your surgeon for optimal recovery
- Emotional Support: Recovery can be challenging, so having emotional support from friends and family is beneficial.
- Patience: The full benefits of the surgery might take time to be fully realized. Patience is essential