After Orthognathic Surgery
This information is being presented to you to provide basic information about what to expect after undergoing orthognathic surgery. A detailed booklet will be provided to you prior to your scheduled surgery.
During the first post-surgical week swelling will occur and peaks at the 3rd to 4th day. The degree of swelling varies. A small amount of bleeding is also common, through the nose and mouth. Pain can last for 2-14 days and pain medication that is prescribed will help control this.
Minor nasal and mouth bleeding is normal through the second post-surgical week. Through the 3rd week, bending forward may start momentary dark red nasal bleeding. Sleeping with the head elevated on two pillows may decrease some bleeding from the nose and mouth as well as help decrease swelling.
A feeling of suffocation may occur and is common. However, suffocation does not occur. Nasal congestion occurs but can be controlled with various products as specified by your doctor.
Nausea and vomiting may occur for the first 48 hours. Medications to prevent nausea will be prescribed as needed.
Bruising frequently occurs. It appears as blue to green to yellow and can settle down to the top of your chest. It is usually gone in 2-3 weeks.
A feeling of depression is a normal occurrence, secondary to medications on diet change. This goes away as swelling, diet and activity levels increase.
Your initial diet will consist of liquids. Some patients are afraid to drink because of fear of suffocation. No one has suffocated. It is important to keep hydrated by drinking 2-3 quarts per day. Your doctor will advise you when it is time to graduate to soft foods and when your regular diet can resume. You can anticipate an initial weight loss of typically 5-10 pounds but your weight will stabilize by 2-3 weeks after your surgery. Your pre-surgical weight returns by 3-4 months after surgery.
Post operative hooks, screws or wires and elastics prevent your jaws from relapsing. They are occasionally tender and are removed at your doctor’s discretion.
Your jaw opening is temporarily limited after surgery. Normal opening takes up to approximately one year, following surgery. Jaw motion exercises are necessary to return to normal opening. Your surgeon will instruct you.