Today I had my pre-op appointment at the hospital where I will be getting my surgery.
Today is also the day that everything that is going to happen really sunk in.
Today is ALSO the day that my surgeon told me I should be undergoing double jaw surgery + genioplasty (chin) and not just lower jaw surgery.
So, I am pretty overwhelmed right now to say the least. I will first take you through my day, and then explain the whole upper jaw surgery bit.
I left home around 6:55am and was signed in at the hospital by my appointment time at 7:30am; traffic was really great this morning which was a nice start to the day. Someone finally came to get me at 8:15, and we started the appointment with some pretty (just kidding) pictures of my face, my bite, etc. After these were done I was sent back out to the waiting room for a bit. Shortly after this, a surgery resident took me into an exam room to measure my overbite, my teeth, my jaw, etc., and to tell me all about the surgery and what to expect. He told me about the three components to jaw surgery; upper jaw, lower jaw, and chin. I was confused about why he spent so much time talking about upper jaw, but he told me that my surgeon would talk to me about my actual personal procedure later, so I thought that discussing all components of the surgery must be their policy. After I was done talking to the resident, I was sent back out to the waiting room for a bit. The next step was getting all kinds of X-rays taken, along with plenty of moulds of my bite… anyone who has had braces knows what I am talking about lol. These moulds are less than enjoyable for sure. After these, I had an hour break so I went to grab a coffee and for a walk, and when I got back I met with my surgeon but I’m going to save that discussion for later. After meeting with my surgeon, I went to pre-admissions where they did up all my papers, hospital ID’s and bands, and told me what to expect the day of surgery. Basically, they will call me the day before my surgery with a procedure time and tell me what time to arrive at the hospital. I will arrive, be admitted, and then wait! The waiting is definitely the part I am most nervous for, but the RN today assured me that if I was having a really difficult time waiting that they would get the anesthesiologist to come help me out (thank god). After checking out the waiting rooms and whatnot, they sent me to my final destination; the blood clinic! I was done earlier than expected at around 1:30pm.
So what did my surgeon say?
Basically, my bite will be okay with just lower jaw surgery. His concern, though, is that because my upper jaw is to the right about 3mm (sounds very tiny but in the world of jaws it’s significant enough), that if only lower jaw surgery is performed that I will not be happy with my smile because my teeth still won’t line up. When I say “line up” I mean that the center teeth on the top will be over about 3mm to the right of the center teeth on the bottom. He also said that he wanted to let me know upper jaw surgery is an option because he has seen people decline to do it and then become upset when they don’t have a perfect smile after all they went through.
Although I am leaning towards going ahead with the double jaw surgery, I am not fully decided. Essentially, all that adding the upper jaw will do to my recovery is make it a bit more uncomfortable. I will have a lot of congestion and headaches (considering they are moving the part of my face where my sinuses are, this makes sense) and I won’t be able to blow my nose for a long time. A lot of people (I believe the majority) do have both upper and lower jaws done when getting surgery. The upper jaw part of my surgery would be very minimal in the realm of things; most people who have their upper jaws done get A LOT of intense work done to them whereas mine is relatively minor.
Apart from the upper jaw decision I need to make, the rest of the plan is staying the same. They are bringing my lower jaw out about 8mm (that’s a big overbite, I honestly never realized how bad it was) and then they are going to bring my chin out so that it “matches” my new jaw placement.
Many people ask what recovery entails so here you are:
- My mouth will be closed with very tight elastics for about 2 weeks, at which point they will give me new elastics that allow for a bit more freedom. There will also be some plastic piece over my teeth to help guide my new bite.
- The liquid diet is expected to last a solid 6 weeks.
- At 6 weeks people are normally allowed to begin a soft diet and progress from there.
- I can’t return to the gym (for heavy lifting, something I love) for at least 6 weeks.
- The hospital stay is two nights.
- The swelling peaks at about day 3 and takes at least 3 months to completely disappear.
- Pain is normally minimal.
- The reason pain is minimal is because prior to surgery you experience extreme numbness in the face. Usually, most people gain complete feeling back within 1 year. However, some people do permanently lose feeling in some small part of the face.
- Talking will be challenging at the beginning.
- If upper jaw is done, the nose becomes very congested, small nose bleeds are normal, but over time that improves, especially when you are allowed to blow your nose again.
I am nervous. Very very nervous. Other areas of my life are super busy right now and it’s overwhelming me and staying optimistic is challenging. However, in the back of my head I know it will all fly by and be worth it, so that’s what is keeping me going!
That is all I can think to add for today! Please feel free to share your input with me on the double jaw surgery possibility.