Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Jaw Surgery Q&A

Hello all,

I can't remember the last time I logged in here. I've been wanting to post a Q&A of some of the questions I get often just so it is easier for anyone to find the answers as sometimes when people try to contact me it gets lost in translation. I've changed over so many social media accounts that I don't think I even have access to all my old emails.

1. Who was your surgeon and where are they located?

I had my jaw surgery in Toronto, Canada. My surgeon was recommended by my orthodontist but I had already known about him through my own research and was interested in meeting with him for a consultation. I highly recommend meeting with him if you live in Ontario and are looking for a surgeon. I have met a few of his previous patients and their final results were functional and aesthetically pleasing. I couldn't imagine having had a better surgeon.

Here is a link to my surgeons bio and the website for the clinic he works through:
My surgeon

I am not sure if they take patients from out of the country, but my best advice is to do your research and find out as much as you can about surgeons in your area and also try to get in contact with their previous patients.

2. How much did your jaw surgery cost?

The cost of my jaw surgery is a good representation of what Canadians living in Ontario will pay through OHIP, but will probably not be much help if you are from a different province or if you are from a different country.

The jaw surgery itself and my time spent in hospital was all covered by OHIP, Ontario's health insurance plan as although my face changed, it was not done for aesthetic purposes but for functionality. I had many associated costs that were not covered.

Braces: $7,000
Consultation: $200
Planning fees: $3,500
Wisdom teeth: Somewhere in the range of $500-$1000 (It's hard to remember all these years later).

Braces are required for surgery but as they are considered cosmetic, it is highly unlikely to have them covered unless your private dental plan includes some sort of coverage. I had pretty straight teeth but I needed to have my jaw decompensated (teeth moved to align with the bone structure) since I had braces previously. They are also required for holding the jaws in place and shut after surgery.

If you are having lower jaw surgery then it is likely you will require wisdom teeth removal as they tend to cut the jaw below where the wisdom teeth are.

Planning fees were fees paid to my surgeon through his clinic for preparation and planning for my in hospital surgery. As his clinic is private, these types of fees are not covered. I had sliding genioplasty as my chin have grow in angle backwards as part of my convex profile so planning for that was also included in the fees.

The best bet of what it will cost you is to check with your insurance company and try to get in contact with other people in your area who have had the surgery.

3. Do you have permanent numbness? How do you deal with it?

This is a question I get often and it is something people are terrified of. I have permanent numbness, which is a risk but it is more likely you won't have it than you will. My chin and lower lip are pretty much numb and the best way I can describe it is sort of like rubber.

After four years it is safe to say the feeling is gone. At first your entire face is numb and the feeling slowly comes back over the course of weeks or months. I did have little pins and needle feelings here and there in that area but the feeling sort of came back outwards in and then stopped.

It has been four years and I can confidently say that the numbness does not have an impact in my day to day life in any way. I actually go months without it even crossing my mind. I tend not to drool when eating, and I can speak perfectly fine. It really is not a big deal at all.

The only time I think I really thought about it was when I last had dental work. It was strange having areas of my mouth numb, but nice at the same time that I had less sensitivity than another person might.

4. How long is the recovery? When can I go back to work or school?

My surgeon told me I would be good to return to university after two weeks. I would strongly suggest against this if you are having double jaw surgery and genioplasty. For one, I still looked mangled, very swollen, and had very little mobility in my face, or energy to get through the day. Also, I found that I still hadn't recovered enough to return to normal activities. I still had bad days with a lot of pain, and was still learning to sleep without putting any pressure on my face.

5. Does jaw surgery hurt? 

Surprisingly, no. At least it didn't for me. I found it was more annoying than anything. I had no pain post op. I was completely numb in the face for a long while. the worst part is throwing up post op, which is common, since your stomach will likely be filled with old blood. I also found it really hard dealing with feeling returning to my face because it was constantly twitching and tingling. I had some joint pain as I continued to recover, but most of my pain was manageable with medication. I was on some pretty heavy painkillers that first week, and actually ended up needing a sedative to sleep. I was very uncomfortable.

6. How long does the swelling last? 

I want to be honest and say that the residual swelling takes about 6 months to a year to go away. The first 6 weeks are the worst. My face looked very uneven during that time. After that I could get away with going out in public and not looking like my face was a rubber mask. That was the first time I took a photo of myself and felt somewhat normal. This will vary for everyone. Overall though it is a long road.

Leave any further questions in the comments and I will answer them. Also, I'm going to try to save the most frequently asked questions I get and make a youtube video.


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