My jaw surgery – week1&2

I thought I would share my experience if nothing else to pass some time but more to assist anyone else who may be thinking of having a similar surgery or anyone going through the process. It is quite a process.

I had an underbite which could not be fixed with simple orthodontics alone. It meant that I had to have a triple jaw osteotomy. In basic English…they broke or rather cause a break with a small saw. They do this along the section of the jaw where the nerves lie. Because of this you will end up numb and trust me, that’s a good thing. But I digress… They broke my top jaw and moved it forward 5mm, my bottom jaw was moved back 6mm. Due to the fact that I didn’t have a strong chin, they broke that section of my jaw as well and moved it forward approximately 4mm. So I had all 3 breaks together.

Pre Opp
Stock up on protein/meal replacement shakes, milk, soups, smooth yogurts, straws. One piece advice that I only learned after the opp is that a thicker straw is a better option if you can find them. The thin straws will cause pressure to build in your face and when you are swollen that is not fun.
Try to pick up a bit of weight if you are not over weight because you are going to loose loads. I have lost 5 kgs in 2 weeks. I was not over weight so 5kgs is a lot.

Post Opp
Waking up from surgery was uncomfortable to say the least. There was blood in my mouth and nose and spitting it out was almost impossible. Luckily I was able to breath through one nostril…otherwise I may have panicked. These days they don’t wire you shut, they use elastics to keep the jaw still. This also means that you can open your mouth slightly so don’t stress too much, if you can’t breath through your nose after surgery, you will be able to breath through your mouth. The bleeding continues for about 24 hours, it is irritating but it passes.

You’ll have tape across your face to help put pressure on the incisions. You can take these off after 3 days. It is very sticky to take off, so what I did was get in a hot bath. Use a mirror. Normal soap is not strong enough to get the sticky plaster residue off, so I used dish washing liquid on a face cloth and gently rubbed it off in circular motions.

Sleeping can be difficult the first few days especially if your not used to sleeping head elevated on your back. Don’t worry…you’ll get used to it.

Swelling is quite intense for the first 5 days after surgery. I hated it, it was super uncomfortable. Ice packs will become your best friends. I started experiencing tingling at about day 4. It felt like pins and needles, kind if like the feeling you get after having an injection at the dentist when it starts to wear out. That’s just the nerves starting to repair itself. Quite normal. So don’t worry.

Keeping your mouth clean is difficult but necessary. I alternated between the antibacterial mouth wash the doctor gave me and warm salt water. The second week left my tongue feeling gross and it’s just one of those things I guess cause you can’t open your mouth to brush your tongue. The salt water helps rinse it clean.

Stitches start dissolving and coming loose during the second week. Super annoying because spitting them out is difficult when you can’t really open your mouth.

So that is where I am at now. My tongue feels gross, I’m dying for solid foods…in fact even soft food would be good right now but I’m stuck with liquids. After this I don’t ever wanna see another straw again. I still look a bit like a character from flubber with my chubby swollen face. I am going nuts not being able to have a conversation…I am a talkative person and the silence is killing me.

On the bright side I am starting to see shuttle differences in my appearance and that is exiting. My bite is perfect for the first time in my life. I have experienced little to no pain during recovery so far. I had no bruising thanks to my amazingly gentle maxillo facial surgeon. I have lost the stubborn weight i wanted to loose and a bit more. So all in all….it’s not terrible.

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