Corrective Jaw (Orthognathic) Surgery FAQ

Table of Contents



Is Jaw Surgery Painful?


Corrective Jaw Surgery (also known as orthognathic surgery) is not typically a painful procedure. Most patients require a light pain medication for several days, which is then followed by Advil or Tylenol.

Our team at NEFOSS is available 24/7 to help if any discomfort should occur.


Will I Have Any Swelling After Orthognathic Surgery and How Long Can I Expect It Will Last?


The most common complaint after corrective jaw surgery is facial swelling. Patients can expect that their swelling will increase over the first 2-3 days after surgery. Once the swelling reaches a peak, it will take approximately 1-1.5 weeks for half of your swelling to resolve.

It will take the next week for half of what is left to resolve. The last small amount of swelling will typically resolve slowly over the next several months.

It is because of this swelling that patients will feel congested after surgery. Our team will provide you with medications and instructions on how to minimize any swelling and speed up its resolution.


How Should a Patient Prepare for Jaw Surgery?


It is important to be as prepared as possible so that you can take an active role in your recovery from surgery. At NEFOSS, our team will spend a significant amount of time preparing you for what to expect.

Prior to surgery, you will have an appointment with us specifically devoted to preparation for surgery and you will be given clear written instructions on how to take care of yourself both before and after surgery.

Our team is specially trained to answer any questions that might come up or to help you in any way necessary to make this as smooth and easy a process as possible.


How Long Does Jaw Surgery Take?


The length of surgery depends upon which corrective jaw operation is being performed.

If only an upper or lower jaw requires surgery, your surgery will typically last between 1.5 to 2 hours.

If both upper and lower jaws need orthognathic surgery then the procedure will take between 3 and 4 hours to perform.

Drs. Jacob and Aziz have extensive experience performing this type of surgery and the procedures will be performed in as quick but more importantly, as safe a manner as necessary.


How Long Do You Stay in the Hospital After Jaw Surgery?


Orthognathic surgery is typically performed in a hospital setting with the patient fully asleep and comfortable throughout the course of surgery.We work with anesthesiologists who have extensive experience in treating patients undergoing this type of surgery.

While some patients will be able to go home on the same day of surgery, many will require one night in the hospital and can be safely discharged the next day.

At Northeast Facial and Oral Surgery Specialists, we strive to allow our patients to go home as soon as they are healthy enough to do so.


How Long Does It Take for Your Jaw to Heal After Surgery?


Depending on which type of surgery is performed, the healing times will vary somewhat.

Most patients can expect to be out of work or school for approximately 2-3 weeks if both jaws require surgery while that time is typically decreased if only a single jaw procedure is necessary.

Drs. Jacob and Aziz and their skilled team will spend a great deal of time with you prior to surgery so that you can understand what to expect during recovery.


How Do I Recover Quickly from a Jaw Surgery Procedure?


The single most important tip to keep in mind during recovery is to maintain a healthy state of mind.

While every patient will go through a period of swelling with some discomfort, keeping a positive outlook will always make recovery easier.

Our team at NEFOSS will go to great lengths to assure that you and your caregivers will fully understand how to help with a speedy recovery.

Other quick recovery tips include:

  • Using ice packs
  • Keeping your head elevated
  • And following the post-surgical medication and dietary instructions

All these tips will help tremendously to make this as smooth a recovery as possible.


What Can I Eat After Jaw Surgery?


A healthy diet is paramount to your recovery.

During the first few days after surgery you will maintain a liquid diet. After several days, you will be able to advance your diet to a soft consistency.

The biggest adjustment after surgery will be the consistency of the foods that you eat. You won’t have to necessarily change what you eat, but you will need to change the consistency of what you eat.

While most surgeries will not require you to have your jaws wired, chewing hard foods too early can lead to a prolonged healing period.

Good food choices include:

  • Smoothies
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Ground meats
  • Yogurt
  • Soft fruits and vegetables

Drs. Jacob and Aziz and their team will review all of these instructions with you prior to surgery and are available to you afterward should you need any further guidance.


Can I Exercise After Jaw Surgery?


Once you are no longer taking any pain medications and your jaw swelling has improved you can resume exercise.

You will start with light aerobic type exercise and can advance to heavier exercise as the weeks pass. It is critical that during exercise, you are not clenching your teeth as would be expected with heavy weight lifting.

You will be allowed to resume this type of exercise between 6-12 weeks after surgery.

Drs. Jacob and Aziz will review all of this with you so you have a full understanding of what types of activities can be resumed to minimize any untoward effects on your surgery.

Having performed these procedures on many patients, our team is experienced in caring for both professional and amateur athletes and is fully prepared to help guide you as you recover.


When Can I Go Back to Work/School After Jaw Surgery?


Patients can typically return to work or school approximately 2 weeks after corrective jaw surgery.

Some patients will be able to return sooner in particular if only one jaw requires correction.

Drs. Jacob and Aziz practice safe and conservative surgery and we will review what types of procedures you require and help you understand your recovery fully before surgery is performed.

Ready to Restore Your Smile?

Call us with any questions or to make an appointment.