After Jaw Surgery – 1 and a half years later!

87 comments… add one
  • Edward Tufte

    Hi Brandon! Really nice blog you got here πŸ˜‰

    I had upper/lower jaw surgery 3months ago, everything went really well, but my nose got wider.. quite frankly its very similar to yours, i don’t know if it was so perceptible to you, but i used to had a thin nose. Do you think that while the remaining swelling is going down, the nose can start to be less wider?

  • What’s up Edward,

    To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to my nose, but if it’s only been 3 months, I’m sure yours will be back to normal soon.

    Even though most of the big, noticeable swelling may be gone, I noticed those last few millimeters didn’t go away until almost 6 months post-op.

    Most people couldn’t tell there was any swelling left at all before then, nut I’m sure you understand that when you see yourself everyday, it’s much easier to notice those subtleties, so just hang in there and it will finally all go down.

  • My surgery was April 22 2009. The Doctor told me that my surgery (which was the opposite but similar to yours, to correct my over bite and sleep apnea) would permanently widen my nose. For me it is a great improvement and I don’t want it to get thinner because I like it much better. I had complications during my surgery because of previous nose surgeries which left it very weak. My nose collapsed due to pressure on it from the tube inserted to breathe and I looked pretty scary but 2 weeks after the jaw surgery the doctor fixed it and I am very pleased. I had catheter probs as well. Apparently it was hard to get in and super uncomfortable to take out. I had to go on more antibiotics to fight infection.

    Brandon, your site has been super helpful through my process. I keep returning to it and even showed my parents so they would know better what to expect. Thank You!

    PS Although I lost weight, the muscles I had really stayed nice and full probably because I did super high quality protein shakes and meal replacement drinks. I spent tons of money because I didn’t want sugary kr@p. I have been pretty creative with recipes too, making “soups” with salmon, mashed potatoes and vegetable juice. (see my blog)

  • Hey Barry,

    Thanks for the update, I’m sure it’s encouraging for other people to hear that even though you’ve had to deal with a few complications, you’re still staying positive and it’s not the end of the world.

    Salmon soup, mmmm, haha, whatever it takes to get that high quality protein though!

    I’m glad my videos helped, and good luck with the un-wiring coming up, I know that will be a huge relief if you’re like me.

    Best of luck with the rest of the recovery, and drop by here any time with questions or updates.

  • Rita

    Hey Brandon,
    Saw where you dropped in on my blog. I am amazed at the time you have put into your blog. It is great and very informational. I am now 12 weeks out and everyday I see improvement. I do like my results, but I still have more healing to do. Thanks for the information you are providing. Bless ya!

  • Hey Rita,

    Thanks, you and all the other jaw surgery blogs out there were the inspiration for starting this one.

    Congrats on the successful surgery again, and good luck with the rest of recovery!

  • Nice to see a supportive and encouraging post surgery enviroment and blog. Well done and keep it up, this is exactly what medical blogs should be about, sharing and caring for each other.

  • Thanks, and I agree!

  • Chris

    Hey Brandon,
    your blogs are very insightful and they have helped me to learn more and more about the various aspects of the surgery, especially related to the emotions that someone may go through if they decide to do this surgery. I just turned 24, and I have been thinking it as of late, after having recently visited the dentist (whom I have dreaded to visit for so many years…). I actually have been told about my underbite when I was maybe 13 or 14 (can’t remember exactly..so long ago). Ever since I had been told to just have confidence and ‘live with it’, I have sort of put it behind me. I got used to the underbite during these years, but it got a bit worse over past 5 6 years I guess, and I have started thinking about it again after hearing a close friend with his jaw surgery during my 2nd year (going into my final year of study this september) and hearing people telling me how slow I always eat. Anyway, my story can go quite long, but I just have a few questions taht I would like to ask you just to understand your thought process for the surgery.

    i) what did your parents/friends think of the surgery? were they concerned about the risks involved ? were they supportive all along?

    ii) I know that cutting my jaws would be the likely solution after reading all these articles on the internet, since I have a class iii malocclusion. Do you know if after a surgery like this there may be complication when you get very old? I think I also have TMJ right now, and I am just trying to think of every reason for my parents to be supportive of a possible surgery to fix my bite.

    iii) The cut jaw segments are held on by screws if I am not mistaken. Do you know if there will be issues related to connection when you age more?

    iv) how has the change impacted your social well-being thus far? How did your friends/relatives react to it when you told them about the change and surgery you had to go through?

    That’s it for now.

    Thanks again for your blogs and your youtube videos. I hope all is well.

  • John

    Brandon, great info and videos very helpful. I have just had my upper jaw moved forward two weeks ago. Much of the swelling went down on outside of face. However gum tissue inside of lips and gums still very swollen. Does the tissue go back to normal and how long does it take. Also were you worried about a relapse. I heard this is common, did your surgeon mention this. If so do you know when the relapse usually occurrs if it does? 1 month, a year, 2 years? Thanks for your help

  • John,

    Thanks, I’m glad the blog has been helpful, that was definitely my goal.

    Yes, I had a big bubble right in the middle of my upper gum, if that’s what you mean. I didn’t think it would ever go away, but it slowly returned to normal over the next several weeks, though the surgeon said that even if it hadn’t it’s a simple, painless procedure to quickly shave it down.

    I don’t think relapses are necessarily “common,” but they are definitely possible. Out of all the people I’ve interacted with here on this blog, in the forums, and elsewhere, I can only remember one or two people that had to have a second surgery. The biggest thing is to just follow your surgeon’s directions exactly and be sure to show up at all of your post-op appointments.

    Congrats on a successful surgery, and best of luck with the rest of recovery!

  • PJ Manalo

    If you drink/smoke.. When are you able to drink alcohol or even smoke after surgery?

  • PJ,

    I don’t drink or smoke, so that I don’t know, and it’s definitely something you should ask your surgeon directly. I do know you’re not supposed to drink through a straw for several weeks, while the wounds in your mouth are healing, so I’m sure that goes for smoking as well.

    And depending on the medication, you probably shouldn’t drink until at least that it done, possibly longer.

  • John

    Brandon, It has been 6 weeks since I had my upper jaw moved forward. I am still very swollen and numb in face and cheeks (upper lip also). Do you remember when your swelling really subsided? After how many weeks was it until you started to eat solid foods?

    Thanks
    John

  • John,

    The bulk of my swelling lasted for several weeks, but it returned to relatively normal after about 2-3 months. It may take much less time for you, since my surgery was fairly severe, moving the top and bottom jaw a total of about 11 mm.

    For eating solid foods, I was wired shut for 5 weeks, then had to ease back into them over the next few weeks, so again about 2-3 months.

  • Alexa

    Brandon,

    I would like to start off with the fact that you are extremly handsome!
    thank you so much for you site, it prepared me what to expect for after my surgery.

    sincerly,
    Alexa

  • Thanks, Alexa! My pleasure, I’m glad the site helped, and if you have any other questions at all along the way, just let me know!

  • ahmad

    your jaws are in a good position today? is there any problem? thanks for your answers….

  • thanks Ahmad, and no problems, I’ve been more than 100% satisifed ever since the surgery and would do it again in a heartbeat!

  • Jef

    Hey Brandon! Looking good huh? By the way, I’m going to do my jaw surgery next may/june and it scares the hell out of me!! and looking at your videos, it makes me stronger and braver to face the fact that my surgery is going to happen in 6 to 7 months! Thanks! you are very inspiring!! πŸ™‚

  • My pleasure, Jef! Thanks, and best of luck with the entire process. If you have any questions along the way, just let me know!

  • Angel

    Hi Brandon –

    I am very inspired by your blog. It’s great that you are able to respond to people and help in any way you can. I am actually a relapse patient. I had upper jaw surgery when I was 14 back in1981 if you can believe that. And now have been told that in order to correct my bite again I will need to have both jaws done. I am very scared to do this again with my age and some of the complications that are out there (temp or perm numbness, loss of teeth, another relapse). I was wondering have you spoken to or had any contacts with anyone my age (42) or anyone that has been a relapse? Also, I live in Texas now but went to college in Richmond. If you have your surgeon’s contact info, I would love to have it. I was thinking about calling and asking him for a referral in Texas.

    Thanks again for taking the time to email all of us…we appreciate it very much!

    Angel

  • Hi Dan,

    I have heard that the older the patient is, the longer the recovery time is, and the higher the chance for permanent numbness, but I’d still go in for a consultation to get a more personalized evaluation, because you never know.

    My surgeon’s name is Dr. Ross Wlodawsky, and he can be reached at this office: (804) 794-0794

    I wish you could come all the way to him for the surgery, because he is absolutely awesome, and actually teaches other people how to perform this operation, but hopefully he will at least have an excellent recommendation in your area.

  • Cathy

    Hi Dan,

    My name is Cathy and I had upper jaw surgery on the 18th November 2009. As im 38 years old i too was concerned with the possibility of permanent numbness but was reassured by my surgeon that I would have the same 1% chance of permanent numbness as a 20 year old would have from the surgery. It is true that healing will take slightly longer the older you are but that is the same with everything in life i guess. In order to give my face and body the best chance of recovering post op i gave up smoking (20 a day) three months before the surgery and started taking 1000mg of vitamin C every day to assist in the healing of my stitches. I had barely any bruising but am still numb and swollen although this is improving on a daily basis. I had a visit with my surgeon the other day and he was delighted with my progress and everything is going well. I am a great believer in positive thinking and believe that a positive mind and attitude will assist you in your recovery time. Just to add that i would be an active and healthy 38 year old although not over the top about health and fitness by any stretch of the imagination. Needless to say I am delighted that i gave up smoking and that is one vice that i wont be returning to. I hope i have been of some encouragement to you. Im so happy i went ahead with it and have zero regrets. Inform yourself of the pros and cons of everything and you will be grand. I must say that Brandons site has been a world of information and help for me and i commend him for doing it. I think he is great and take my hat off to him.

    Cathy

  • Thanks so much for the excellent reply, Cathy!

    And congrats on a successful surgery and giving up up smoking, awesome!

  • Abbie

    Ahh.lol my surgery is in nine days im having part of the upper jaw removed and moved forward as well as my wisdom teeth removed, on a scale of one to ten how much pain were you in when you arrived home? and what type of medication do they put you on?

  • I was lucky in that I didn’t experience any pain at all during the entire process, so 0 on the pain scale, but definitely a 7 or 8 on the uncomfortable/pressurized scale. I didn’t take any of the pain pills, so I don’t remember what kind they were, but I did take all the antibiotics.

    I hope that helps, and good luck with everything!

    P.S. – You can chat with a bunch of other jaw surgery patients here:

    http://www.jawsurgeryblog.com/forums/

  • Teresa

    Hey Brandon,
    I’m supposed to be having SARPE at some point over the next couple of years and I found your videos really really interesting so thanks for that! I was pretty relieved to hear about how you are still so glad you went through with it regardless of the time scale of the whole thing but the amount of the swelling and the time it took for it to disappear scares me a little bit! You must have had to take a load of time off work?! I’m at uni at the moment so just wondered how long that was?

    thanks again for all the help

  • Hey Teresa,

    Fortunately, I was working from home at the time of my surgery, but if I had been in a normal job, I would have been able to return in about 3-4 weeks.

    Of course, that will be different for everyone, depending on severity of the surgery, healing time, type of work, etc.

    Be sure to discuss your specific needs and time frames with your surgeon, as he’ll be able to give you a more personalized assessment.

    Good luck with the entire process, and be sure to find a surgeon that you’re completely comfortable and confident in, because that will make everything much easier!

    If you have any other questions along the way, just let me know.

  • Hey Brandon. Im amazed by your site, its very helpful and lets me know im not alone!! THANKS. BTW. your end results look amazing!!!

  • Thanks so much, Chelsea! I’ve seen you on the forums, and I’m glad they’ve been so helpful!

  • Rachel

    Hi Brandon!
    I just finished watching your video blogs and I think the long process you went through was amazing! I am sixteen and I am getting prepaired to have jaw surgery after I get my 4 wisdom teeth pulled out. My questions for you were
    1. Did you already have insurance before the surgery?
    Since, I do not have insurance and it will probably be around a year till the surgery I was wonderng If the actual getting insurance will help offset the costs?
    2. Was the pain really not that bad? I hear that the pain is quite grueling?
    3. Was it worth the money?
    thanks so much for putting up your videos! It gave me a sense of what was going to happen in the future
    Thanks!

  • Hi Rachel,

    I answered your jaw surgery question here:

    http://www.jawsurgeryblog.com/forums/topic/insurance-cost-and-pain

    Your login details are in your email inbox.

    If you have any more questions, just post them in the forums. That way I can help, but so can our whole community of jaw surgery patients and enthusiasts.

    Thanks,
    Brandon

    http://www.jawsurgeryblog.com/forums/topic/insurance-cost-and-pain

  • Gabrielle Holand

    Hi Brandon!
    I am having upper and lower jaw surgery 3 weeks from today!!!! I have been pretty cool about it up til now (having begun my treatment nearly 3 years ago) but am now starting to freak out a bit (a lot). I am 37 and have 2 little boys who think it´s going to be really cool to have a mom with titanium plates in her face! ha ha ha
    Anyway, your blog has been of great help, I have been devouring any information I can find about the surgery! Heres hoping it all goes well!
    Thanks again,
    Gabrielle

  • Hi Gabrielle,

    Totally normal for a total freak out, haha. My blood pressure was through the roof on the morning of my surgery, but it really isn’t nearly as bad as most people anticipate it being in their mind.

    Good luck with everything, and hopefully those 2 little boys help Mommy out while she’s laid up for a few days.

    Let us know how everything goes, and you can talk with a bunch of other jaw surgery patients on the forums here:

    http://www.jawsurgeryblog.com/forums/

  • Gordon Hunter or Gogs

    Hey Brandon,
    I’m about to start my orthodontic treatment to help straighten my teeth for surgery.
    Much like yourself I too have a heavy interest in weight training/ bodybuilding and my main concern lies in the the length in time I will spend out of the gym recovering from the opereation.
    And I was wondering if you could give me some helpful pointers/advice you used to get over this barrier to success?!

    Many Thanks

    G

  • Hey G,

    I felt the exact same way before surgery, worried about losing all my gains, etc., and you will probably lose a little progress, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly it all comes back, both in terms of strength and size.

    In the big picture, it’s just a tiny blip on the radar, so just try to get as many calories as you can in those first few weeks post-surgery, then follow a similar path to this one to work back in:

    http://www.jawsurgeryblog.com/forums/topic/working-outgoing-to-the-gym-after-the-jaw-op

  • Andrea (South Africa)

    Hi Brandon,

    I am ONLY 1 week post op for my bottom and upper jaw surgery, still swollen, but that has gone down dramatically, i have noticed that my nose is skewish, please say that is because of the swelling? It pulls dramatically to the right, which shows one nostril considerably larger than the other? Great blog

  • Hi Andrea,

    Most likely it is from the swelling, especially only being one week out, so just give it a few more weeks, and you should see the new shape of your face take form as the swelling continues to go down.

  • Danny

    I think you have an awesome blog. Thank you for posting video blogs about your experience. The only comment that I do not agree with is your description of what it is like to “finally chew”; your mouth is like a blender, going from an herbivore to a carnivore. Going from eating greens to meat does not necessarily mean bliss to everyone. The two do not have any relevance to chewing whatsoever. Just my two cents.

  • Thanks, Danny!

    I was simply saying that eating harder, thicker foods (ie., meat) was much easier with a symmetrical bite, while the difference for softer foods wasn’t as dramatic.

    In fact, I’ve since become a vegetarian, and haven’t had meat in several months.

    Ironic?

  • Hey Brandon!

    I’ve watched pretty much all your blogs and I am absolutely AMAZED with the results, not only are the health risks fixed, but you can also enunciate everything perfectly and your teeth look great!

    I was at the jaw doctor just the other day because I am having severe pain in one side of my jaw and it pops almost every time I open my mouth. Also, my front teeth never overlap my bottom ones (there’s a gap between my upper and lower palette) and some of my gums show when I smile. He told me that my jaw hadn’t developed properly while I was growing throughout my life, so he recommended that I go and get double-jaw surgery. I’ve already had braces for 2 years and 2 months and just got them off in december of 2009, so I have to go and get them put back on. But first I have to get my wisdom teeth out, and I have to wait 6 months for my wisdom teeth to heal before I have any surgery on my jaw… which sets me at the very end of November for the jaw surgery.

    I’m only 16 and I was wondering if you had anyone make fun of you while you had your mouth wired shut and had to eat through that syringe thing… That’s the only part I’m worried about but I really, REALLY want to get this surgery done (especially before I’m a senior!) because this pain is really annoying… Also, what were your symptoms before you had the surgery? How did you know to get it done?

    Sorry that this is such a long post!

    -Amber

  • Hey Amber!

    Thanks for your comment!

    I’ve responded here:

    http://www.jawsurgeryblog.com/forums/topic/double-jaw-surgery-questions

    I emailed you your login details.

    If you have any trouble logging in, or any other questions, just let me know.

    See you on the forums!

    Thanks,
    Brandon

  • Nikki

    Hey thanks for all you advice about the surgery! I had upper jaw surgery and just over one year ago. May 20th to be exact. I just want to write this for anyone out there who may be wondering. My face changed DRAMATICALLY. I went back to work after a month and about half of my coworkers thought I was a new employee. I girl I had known for years walked right up to me and asked me if I was my own sister! If anyone is potentially considering the surgery please take into consideration the psychological aspects of it. I like the improvement to my smile however my cheeks and facial structure/ nose are quite different. I had to reintroduce myself to SO many people and living in a small town in got quite upsetting. I would say hello to someone and they would just stare at me blankly like who is this girl? I have not heard of anyone else that has had jaw surgery having such extreme changes but it was the case for me. Most people say I have improved but sometimes I do miss my old face. I had it for 23 years after all. All in all though the pain side of the surgery was completely fine. I have low pain threshold and it was not bad for me at all. The swelling went down a lot in the first couple weeks and then has gradually gone down ever since. It went down a ton around 5 to 6 months and I can honestly say that my face is still changing over a year after surgery. My mom dad and boyfriend are still commenting on it changing. Just thought I would write this incase anyone was worried about the rate of their swelling going down. If anyone wants to ask me more questions my email is nikki_noodle18@hotmail.com

  • Wow, sounds like you definitely had one of the biggest cosmetic changes, and it sounds like you’re happy overall, so congrats and thanks for sharing!

    You should repost this on the forums too, if you can, so more people will see it.

  • Claire

    Hey Brandon! I just watched all your videos and it actually made me cry, i havent had my surgery yet, im only 19 and i dont even know how much further away i am. The whole process has been so tedious and sometimes quite upsetting for me. It was really good to see someone go through the exact same thing that im going to have to go through. My orthodontist never tells me how long im going to have to wait, i suppose he doesnt want to give me false hope, but seing how patient you were with the whole thing is inspiring!
    Thanks for posting up the videos!
    Claire

  • My pleasure, Claire, and you should really check out the forums:

    http://www.jawsurgeryblog.com/forums/

    It’s a whole group of jaw surgery patients (past, present, and future) helping each other through the process, and I’m on there just about every day, so hope to see you there!

  • kathy

    hi. I want to ask you a question. orthognathic is really for the jaw/teeth right? it fixes the shape of your face as well but what if your teeth are already fixed but your chin is receding? do YOu need to undergo orthognathic surgery or is chin surgery fine? I went to dr. guevarra and told me that I need orthognathic surgery but it is just too expensive. I am currently wearing braces and I was hoping that my braces would fix my teeth, bite and jaw and if my chin still recedes then maybe a chin surgery would do then go through orthognathic surgery. what do you think?

  • Usually, your surgeon would know best, so if he said you would need jaw surgery, he may be right, but the best thing to do is to get a second opinion from another surgeon in your area.

    If he tells you the same thing, then you know for sure, but he may come up with an alternative option based on your specific case.

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