What is Orthognathic Surgery?
Orthognathic surgery is designed to correct problems with the jaws and their alignment to each other. Surgery is available for those who have a bite misalignment or facial imbalance from deformities of the jaw, and where the distance between your top and bottom teeth is too great to correct by simply moving your teeth with braces.These deformities may be the result of disease, injury or simply the way the jaw bones have developed. If you experience problems eating such as your teeth hitting the roof of your mouth when you chew then you should consider orthognathic surgery. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your face relative to your forehead, nose, lips and chin you should consider what orthognathic surgery can do for you.
Why is it necessary to wait until I have stopped growing?
The jaws follow the growth rate of the rest of the body. Early surgery may mean that the operation has to be repeated when growth has been completed due to continuing change in the jaw relationship. The earliest age at which surgery is normally considered is in the late teens.
What will I need to do before the surgery?
Before your surgery you will require a consultation concerning the extent of the procedure, and the risks involved. A thorough examination of your face will be conducted and X-rays will be taken to look at the bone structure and density. You may require braces to be placed before surgery to align the teeth, which an orthodontist will carry out. Models of your teeth will be made and pictures taken before and after to compare the results.
Will I have to be hospitalised for my Orthognathic Surgery?
Yes, in most cases Orthognathic Surgery requires a one or two day stay in a hospital for recovery. Orthognathic surgery procedures are generally performed under a general anaesthetic.
What does the surgery consist of?
Once the anaesthesia has taken effect the surgeon will begin by making incisions within the mouth (to minimise visible scars). Often the jaw is cut in sections and moved to the desired position and set in place with screws, plates, wires or splints.
Will the operation be painful?
All operations result in some degree of discomfort and swelling. This varies tremendously from person to person, but most patients who have jaw surgery do not find it very painful. Obviously we try to control any pain and swelling with the appropriate drugs.
Are there any risks?
All operations involve a degree of risk related to the general anaesthetic. However, this is a very rare occurrence. Following your operation you will experience a numbness related to the operation site. This numbness lasts for approximately six weeks to six months. It is unusual if nerve damage results in permanent numbness.
What should I expect following the procedure?
After the procedure is complete you will feel groggy and may experience numbness in the area of the surgery. You will have some swelling and discoloration of the face which will go away within a few days. Any discomfort you may have will be treated with pain medication to make you as comfortable as possible. Orthognathic Surgery is successfully performed many times each year. Complications from this procedure are possible but are rare.
How long will I have to be away from work or school?
You will normally be away from work or school for about three weeks. Again, this varies from patient to patient and depends on your type of operation and general robustness.
Does the operation work?
All the operations performed result in substantial improvement in the function and appearance of the jaws and face. The stability of the final result depends on the type of operation and an individual’s response to the operation.
Details of your particular operation will be discussed in detail.