8 Common Questions


Below are some questions I've been asked, and my responses based mostly on details my surgeon gave me, and personal experience. If you have any questions not addressed by this site, feel free to leave comments, or contact me using any of the methods on the top navigation bar

Common Questions Regarding Double Jaw (Orthognathic) Surgery





Why have jaw (orthognathic) surgery?

Jaw surgery is performed when you have malocclusion of a severe degree. What this means is your bite relation between your upper and lower teeth cannot be fixed by orthodontics (braces), and a reconfiguration of your jaw structure is needed. In my case, I had a rotated lower jaw which resulted in a bad bite.
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How long is the recovery?

Full recovery is 9 - 12 months. However, there are many different stages of recovery. Full bone fusion takes approximately 90 days, swelling dissipation takes 4 - 6 weeks, and the rest is mostly regaining sensation to the numb parts of your face, and muscles adapting to their new position. After the swelling dissipates, you will also notice stiff areas around your face. These stiff areas are where scar tissues have formed, and till take up to 6 months to be re-absorbed back into the body. Don't worry, internal scar tissue is not permanent. See "Recovery Timeline" or individual blog posts for more details.
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How much does recovery hurt?

Post-op, you will be given pain medication to last you through the first 10 - 14 days. However, I was pain-free by day 5. This will vary from person to person, depending on the extent of the actual procedure. I've heard about patients who do need pain medication for a full 2 weeks.
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How soon can you resume regular activities?

Within days of the surgery, you will be encouraged to walk and move around as much as possible. However, any forms of strenuous exercising are forbidden until 4 - 6 weeks out. This includes running, cycling, weight lifting -- anything that may cause your jaws to clench, or raise your blood pressure (increased risk of hemorrhaging and internal bleeding). Contact sports is not recommended until 3 months after, when the bones have fully fused.
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What can you eat after jaw surgery?

For the first 4 - 6 weeks, you will be on a full liquid diet and eating out of a syringe, depending on how quickly your jaw has stabilized. This includes clear liquids, fully liquefied soups, cream of wheat or rice, yogurt drinks. After 6 weeks, you will progress to a blended or soft food diet, and progress from there. However, even after 6 weeks, you may not be able to open your mouth more than a finger's width apart. The speed of diet progression will depending on jaw exercises, and improvement in jaw strength.
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Is double jaw (orthognathic) surgery covered by insurance?

This was one of the biggest battles I had in this treatment -- my battle with the insurance company. In short, yes, this is covered by insurance, but only if you can prove medical necessity. Even then your insurance company may have different opinions. The best route to take is to have your surgeon's office request a pre-approval before diving into the procedures. I only started my treatment once I had an official pre-approval letter from my insurance company. It is important to note that pre-approvals do have expiration dates, and will need to be renewed throughout the treatment. The general trend is that once it has been approved, it will stay approved.
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How much does double jaw (orthognathic) surgery cost?

This varies from location to location. I had my surgery performed at Stanford Hospital, and the total cost of the surgery was $31,500. The 2-night hospitalization fee was approximately $112,250. Orthodontics for pre and post surgery sums up to $8,000. With insurance coverage, the whole thing should cost no more than your maximum out-of-pocket expense of your insurance policy.
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8 comments:

  1. 2 nights in a hospital is 112 grand????? or 112 dollars?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, it was 112 grand (I know! It's ridiculous). But, that's the going rate for Stanford Hospital -- this rate greatly varies from center to center, and regardless of the cost, it's important to check that the hospital you use is contracted with your insurance company; this means that if your stay is for medical reasons your insurance will cover it. Otherwise, it will be out of pocket.

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  2. Hi! I also got double jaw surgery about a week and a half ago. I am also wearing a splint. I was wondering how did you clean out your teeth that are on the splint especially cleaning the inside of your teeth? Will it get easier through time since im only close to two weeks post -op? I hope so bc im trying to keep my mouth as clean as possible but i can still feel stuff stuck behind my top teeth. Also, what kind of mouthwash dif you use? Was it just any kind? Please help! Thanks

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    Replies
    1. HI Anonymous, I actually ended up buying a kid's or baby's brush! The kind with all sorts of cartoon characters or disney characters. Those are small enough to fit in between my cheeks and the front of my teeth without hurting too much. However, with the splint, you simply cannot brush the back of your teeth.

      Regarding mouthwash, I was given a prescription wash by my surgeon. Chorhexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse is the full name of it. Beware that using this can cause dark discoloration of the teeth that look like cavities, but aren't. See my post on Day 34. I panicked!

      And believe me, it definitely gets easier.

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  3. thank you so much for posting your progress through your surgery, the final result looks great! I'm about to schedule a surgery date myself for an overdeveloped left mandible. I'll be needing lower jaw, upper jaw, and partial chin surgery as well as my left jaw joint to stop the growth. I have asymmetry as well as trouble functioning my jaw because of my mandibular joint not fitting correctly into the socket.
    As someone who has recovered fully from a similar procedure, was it worth all of the trouble? blood, pain, and all? were there any other problems you had prior to surgery besides the asymmetry, and did all of your problems get fixed? do you have any permanent numbness? any feedback is very much appreciated!

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    1. Natalie, I must say that now that it has been one year out, not all of my issues have been resolved. However, this did come with fair warning from my surgeon who mentioned while my problem be improved, it may never be 100% fixed. I can actually confirm that any discomforts I've had in my jaw now is less than before the surgery but it can certainly still be bothersome, and I am considering having a second diagnosis to see if there may be additional causes. I would talk to your surgeon about what he thinks the chances of your particular case is for a full remedy as i'm sure our cases do differ a bit.

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  4. Did Dr Schendel perform your surgery? I'm using him and have add'l questions....

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  5. hi! I have to fly at day 19 (not counting day of surgery). Did you fly? Looking for some folks that under went same surgery and flew so I can determine whether or not it's worth it. thank you!

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