Orthognathic Surgery Before and After

Orthognathic Surgery Before and After

Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is a procedure performed to correct various abnormalities of the jaw and facial skeletal structure. It is often sought after by individuals who experience functional issues with chewing, biting, or speaking, as well as those seeking aesthetic improvements. This article will delve into the details of orthognathic surgery, including what to expect before, during, and after the procedure, as well as its benefits and risks.

Definition and Purpose

Orthognathic surgery involves the surgical repositioning of the upper jaw (maxilla), lower jaw (mandible), or both, to improve facial balance, symmetry, and function. It aims to correct conditions such as underbites, overbites, crossbites, and facial asymmetry.

Common Reasons for Undergoing Orthognathic Surgery

Malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth and jaws)

Difficulty chewing, biting, or swallowing

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders

Obstructive sleep apnea

Facial trauma resulting in jaw misalignment

Initial Consultation with a Surgeon

The journey towards orthognathic surgery typically begins with a consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. During this appointment, the surgeon will assess the patient’s medical history, conduct a physical examination, and discuss treatment options.

Orthodontic Treatment

Prior to surgery, many patients undergo orthodontic treatment to align the teeth and create an optimal bite relationship. This preparatory phase ensures that the teeth are in the correct position to complement the new jaw alignment achieved through surgery.

Physical and Psychological Preparation

Preparing for orthognathic surgery involves not only physical readiness but also psychological readiness. Patients should have realistic expectations about the outcome of the surgery and understand the potential impact on their appearance and lifestyle.

Anesthesia and Incision

Orthognathic surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety throughout the procedure. Once the patient is sedated, the surgeon makes incisions inside the mouth to access the underlying jawbones.

Repositioning of the Jaw

Using specialized surgical techniques, the surgeon repositions the jawbones into the desired alignment, guided by preoperative planning and computer-assisted technology. In some cases, bone grafts may be used to augment deficient areas of the jaw.

Closure of Incisions

After the necessary adjustments have been made, the incisions are meticulously closed using sutures. These incisions are strategically placed within the mouth to minimize visible scarring.

Hospital Stay

Following orthognathic surgery, patients typically spend one to several days in the hospital for monitoring and pain management. During this time, they may receive intravenous fluids and medications to alleviate discomfort.

Postoperative Care Instructions

Upon discharge from the hospital, patients are provided with detailed postoperative care instructions, including guidelines for oral hygiene, dietary restrictions, and activity limitations. It is essential to follow these instructions closely to facilitate proper healing.

Managing Pain and Swelling

Pain and swelling are common aftereffects of orthognathic surgery and can be managed with prescription pain medication and cold compresses applied to the face. It is important to attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with the surgeon to monitor healing progress and address any concerns.

Dietary Restrictions

In the initial weeks following surgery, patients are advised to consume a soft or liquid diet to avoid putting undue stress on the jaws. As healing progresses, they can gradually reintroduce solid foods into their diet under the guidance of their healthcare provider.

Results and Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery offers numerous benefits beyond aesthetic enhancement, including:

Improved facial harmony and symmetry

Enhanced dental functionality and occlusion

Correction of breathing and speech issues associated with jaw misalignment

Real-Life Experiences

One of the most compelling aspects of orthognathic surgery is the transformative effect it can have on a patient’s appearance and quality of life. Many individuals who undergo this procedure report newfound confidence and improved self-esteem. Before and after photos serve as powerful testimonials to the positive impact of orthognathic surgery.

Risks and Complications

While orthognathic surgery is generally safe and effective, like any surgical procedure, it carries inherent risks, including:


Nerve damage leading to sensory changes in the face

Relapse of jaw position over time

Cost Considerations and Insurance Coverage

The cost of orthognathic surgery can vary widely depending on factors such as the complexity of the procedure, the surgeon’s experience, and geographic location. Some health insurance plans may provide coverage for orthognathic surgery if it is deemed medically necessary to correct a functional impairment.


Orthognathic surgery is a transformative procedure that can correct a wide range of jaw and facial skeletal abnormalities, improving both function and aesthetics. By understanding the process of orthognathic surgery and its potential benefits and risks, individuals can make informed decisions about whether it is the right choice for them.


What is the typical recovery time after orthognathic surgery?

Recovery times vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery but typically range from several weeks to a few months.

Are there any dietary restrictions following the surgery?

Yes, patients are usually advised to follow a soft or liquid diet initially and gradually transition to solid foods as tolerated.

How long does it take to see the final results?

While noticeable improvements may be visible shortly after surgery, the final results of orthognathic surgery may take several months to fully manifest as swelling subsides and tissues heal.

Can orthognathic surgery improve breathing issues?

Yes, orthognathic surgery can correct anatomical abnormalities that contribute to obstructive sleep apnea and other breathing difficulties.

Is orthognathic surgery painful?

Discomfort and swelling are common after surgery but can be managed with pain medication and other supportive measures prescribed by the surgeon.

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