Postoperative Instructions: Orthognathic Surgery

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Postoperative Instructions for Orthognathic Surgery

Recovery after orthognathic surgery requires careful attention to postoperative instructions to promote healing and minimize complications. Here are general guidelines commonly provided to patients following orthognathic surgery:

1. Pain Management:

  • Take prescribed pain medications as directed by your oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) to manage discomfort. Do not exceed the recommended dosage.
  • Use ice packs on the face as instructed to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.

2. Swelling and Bruising:

  • Swelling and bruising are common after orthognathic surgery. Apply ice packs to the affected areas intermittently for the first 48 hours to minimize swelling.
  • Keep your head elevated while resting to further reduce swelling.
  • Avoid hot compresses or direct heat on the face, as they can exacerbate swelling.

3. Diet and Nutrition:

  • Follow a soft or liquid diet as recommended by your surgical team during the initial recovery period.
  • Gradually reintroduce solid foods as tolerated, starting with soft, easy-to-chew options.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, but avoid using straws, as they can increase the risk of complications.

4. Oral Hygiene:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene by gently brushing your teeth and rinsing with a prescribed mouthwash as instructed by your OMS.
  • Avoid vigorous rinsing or spitting, especially in the first few days following surgery, to prevent dislodging blood clots and interfering with healing.

5. Activity and Rest:

  • Get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activities for the first few weeks following surgery.
  • Limit physical exertion and avoid bending over, lifting heavy objects, or engaging in activities that may strain the surgical site.

6. Medication and Antibiotics:

  • Take any prescribed antibiotics as directed to prevent infection.
  • Finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if you start feeling better before completing the medication.

7. Follow-Up Appointments:

  • Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgical team to monitor your progress and ensure proper healing.
  • Your OMS will assess your surgical sites, remove any sutures if necessary, and provide further instructions for postoperative care.

8. Facial Care and Protection:

  • Avoid touching or rubbing the surgical sites with your hands or any foreign objects.
  • Protect your face from direct sunlight and wear sunscreen or protective clothing when outdoors to prevent sunburn and minimize scarring.

9. Speech and Swallowing:

  • You may experience changes in speech or swallowing temporarily after surgery. Practice speaking and swallowing slowly and gently as you gradually adjust to any changes.

10. Emotional Support:

  • Understand that the recovery process after orthognathic surgery may be emotionally challenging. Seek support from family, friends, or a mental health professional if needed.

11. Follow Dietary Restrictions:

  • Avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy foods that may irritate or disrupt the surgical sites during the initial stages of recovery.

12. Return to Normal Activities:

  • Gradually resume normal activities and return to work or school as advised by your OMS. Follow any specific restrictions or guidelines provided for your individual case.

13. Oral Exercises:

  • Your OMS may recommend specific oral exercises to improve jaw function and mobility. Follow these exercises as instructed to aid in your recovery.

14. Patience and Persistence:

  • Be patient with your recovery process, as full healing may take several weeks to months. Follow your surgeon's instructions diligently and trust in the gradual improvement of your condition over time.

Always consult your oral and maxillofacial surgeon if you have any concerns or experience unexpected symptoms during your recovery. These postoperative instructions are general guidelines, and your OMS may provide additional or personalized recommendations based on your individual case and surgical procedure.