Orthognathic (jaw) surgery
The problem of malaligned jaws is very common. This includes protruding chins and discrepancies in the size and shape of upper and lower jaws. This can be corrected by Orthognathic Surgery. It involves the surgical repositioning of the jaws for both aesthetic and functional reasons and is carried out by Maxillofacial Surgeons.
Jaw surgery procedure
Orthognathic Surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic. It involves a controlled break of the upper and/or lower jaws. Most of the surgery is carried out in the mouth so there is no facial scarring. The jaws are then placed in the correct position and fixed with titanium plates and screws. The patient is placed on a soft non-chew diet for at least six weeks while the jaws heal in their new position.
The plates and screws generally do not need to be removed, as they become part of the body and depending on the complexity of the case, the upper and lower jaw may be fixed together for six weeks using metal arch wires attached to both jaws. Before the surgery a course of orthodontic treatment may be undertaken so the teeth will be in correct position for the newly aligned jaws.
After your jaw surgery
Orthognathic Surgery is a major procedure and recovery may take up to 3 weeks. The bone will take at least 6 weeks to heal. There is considerable swelling and numbness of the face after the procedure but this subsides after about 12 days. Meticulous oral hygiene must be carried out to prevent any infection occurring and time must be taken off work or school to recover.
The long term outcome
Once the jaws have been repositioned they do not relapse. The outcome is predictable and reliable.
Jaw surgery risks
The risks of the procedure are those of major surgery. There is a risk of damage to the nerves which supply feeling to the face. There is also a risk of damaging the blood supply to the jaws.