Postoperative Instructions: Extraoral Bone Graft

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Postoperative Instructions: Extraoral Bone Graft

Immediate Postoperative Care

  • Rest: Encourage ample rest in the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Activity should be limited to avoid any strain on the surgical area.
  • Pain Management: Patients will be prescribed pain medications. It's important to take these as directed to manage discomfort. If pain persists or worsens, contact the healthcare provider.
  • Ice Application: To reduce swelling, apply ice packs to the face near the surgical site for the first 24-48 hours post-surgery. Use the ice intermittently — 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.

Wound Care

  • Oral Hygiene: Keep the mouth clean to prevent infection. Rinse with salt water or a prescribed oral rinse starting the day after surgery, typically after meals and before bed.
  • Avoid Disturbing the Site: Do not touch or probe the surgical area with fingers or tongue. Avoid using a straw as the suction can dislodge the blood clot forming over the graft site.
  • Bleeding: Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding (your mouth fills rapidly with blood) can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes.


  • Limit Physical Activity: Avoid strenuous activities for at least a week, as this can result in increased bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. Gradually increase activity levels based on how you feel.
  • Elevation: When lying down, use extra pillows to keep your head elevated. This helps reduce swelling.


  • Soft Diet: Stick to a soft diet as recommended by your surgeon. Initially, liquids and soft foods like soup, yogurt, and applesauce are advisable.
  • Hydration: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, but avoid hot beverages as they can increase swelling.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Stay away from hard, crunchy, or very chewy foods that could irritate the graft site.


  • Antibiotics: If prescribed, finish the course of antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • Avoid Aspirin: Unless specifically prescribed by your surgeon, avoid aspirin as it can increase bleeding.

Monitoring for Complications

  • Signs of Infection: Watch for signs of infection including excessive swelling, persistent warmth, redness, or discharge from the surgical site, and fever. Contact your surgeon if any of these symptoms occur.
  • Nerve Sensations: Report any prolonged numbness or tingling in the face, lips, or mouth to your surgeon.

Follow-Up Visits

  • Attend Follow-Up Appointments: Go to all scheduled follow-up appointments so that your surgeon can monitor your healing and the integration of the bone graft.

General Well-being

  • No Smoking: Smoking can severely impact the healing process. Avoid smoking for as long as possible post-surgery.
  • Alcohol Consumption: Avoid alcohol as it can impede the healing process.