Preparation for orthognathic surgery
generally involves orthodontic care for as
little as a few months up to a year or longer,
depending upon the complexity of the case.
During this time your orthodontist will align
your teeth so that they will fit properly when
the jaw(s) are surgically re-positioned. It is
common, even expected, that the dental
malocclusion will become more noticeable during
this pre-operative period of treatment. Braces
will remain on your teeth throughout the entire
treatment process, including during surgery.
You will be re-evaluated once your
orthodontist feels that you are nearly ready for
surgery. A surgical date may be scheduled at
that time, and this will be coordinated with a
preoperative office appointment.
is done at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.
Our office staff will make the necessary
arrangements, including a pre-admission
appointment. In most cases we will ask your
personal physician to complete a pre-operative
physical examination (H&P) prior to surgery.
Most surgery starts early in the morning.
Out of town patients may want to stay nearby the
night before surgery. We can recommend local
accommodations that are a short distance from
the hospital. Patients undergoing surgical
procedures on only one jaw may go home the same
day, while patients having surgery on both jaws
will most likely stay overnight. Patients often
ask if their jaws will be wired together after
surgery. It is seldom necessary to wire the jaws
together after corrective jaw surgery. In
general, the jaws are immobilized securely with
rubber bands for the first one to two weeks, and
then lightly for an additional three to five
Patients should expect to use
meal replacement drinks for a balanced diet the
first one to two weeks after surgery. Afterward,
they may advance to a blended diet until about
the sixth to eigth post-operative week, at which
time they generally begin a solid diet. Healing
will be closely monitored for the first few
months after surgery.
Most patients are
concerned about the degree of pain they will
experience after surgery. While pain can be
expected after any type of surgery, many
orthognathic surgery patients tell us that their
post-surgical discomfort was much less than they
anticipated. We of course prescribe the pain
medications you may need to transition through
the recovery process with as much comfort as
Facial swelling, while
variable, is an inevitable part of the healing
process. Swelling generally increases for a
couple of days after surgery before beginning to
subside. Cold packs, head elevation, and use of
the facial muscles will help to reduce swelling.
Much of the swelling resolves within the first
few weeks after surgery, but more subtle changes
in your facial appearance will continue for up
to a year.
Many of our patients either
work or attend school. Students generally elect
to have surgery during a school vacation.
Depending upon the specific plan, our working
patients should allow one to three weeks for a
level of recovery that will permit them to
return to work, though the recovery time may be
longer for certain occupations.
advise you when it is time to return to your
orthodontist to resume orthodontic treatment,
usually about one month after surgery. At this
time, much of the orthodontic treatment has been
accomplished and your orthodontist may only need
to fine-tune the dental occlusion. This
important process may take as little as a few
months to as long as a year. We follow our
patients throughout this process, though with
less frequency, until the completion of
orthodontic treatment. We always enjoy seeing
our patients after the conclusion of active
orthodontic treatment. At that visit, we like to
ensure that the plan has been a success, both
for the surgeon and the patient.
Back to Patient Education