Is double jaw surgery dangerous?

This blogpost will answer the question: is double jaw surgery dangerous? And will include the following topics: What Is Double Jaw Surgery

Common reasons to undergo Orthognathic surgery

Double jaw surgery benefits

Investigations required prior to Orthognathic surgery:

Double jaw surgery procedure

Risks and side effects of double jaw surgery

Double jaw surgery recovery timeline

Alternatives to double jaw surgery

Is double jaw surgery dangerous?

No, double jaw surgery is not dangerous. With the finest surgical and anaesthetic standards, orthognathic surgery is extremely safe. There are always some risks with surgery, just as with any other procedure, but there is nothing to be scared about.

What Is Double Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery, often known as orthognathic surgery, is a method for correcting jaw problems. It may involve your:

upper jaw (maxilla)

lower jaw (mandible)

both upper and lower jaws (bimaxillary)

A double jaw surgery, also known as a bimaxillary osteotomy, is a procedure that involves both jaws.

The objective is to improve your jaws’ function and aesthetics. A surgeon may adjust your upper and lower jaws depending on the severity of your jaw abnormalities. They might potentially reduce their size by removing bone fragments.

Common reasons to undergo Orthognathic surgery:

To correct malocclusion of teeth

Malocclusions come in a variety of forms. It might be a condition known as ‘Overbite,’ in which the upper teeth are far ahead of the lower teeth. It might be a condition known as ‘Underbite,’ in which the lower teeth are far ahead of the upper teeth. There may be a space between the upper and lower teeth, which is known as a ‘open bite.’

To improve the appearance of face

People most commonly seek orthognathic surgery for facial deformities such as ‘Dish face,’ in which the upper jaw is far behind the lower jaw, ‘Weak chin,’ in which the lower jaw is far behind the upper jaw, ‘Strong chin,’ in which the lower jaw is far ahead of the upper jaw, causing a masculine appearance in a female patient, and so on.

To improve the smile

People who have ‘Gummy smile’, ‘Excessive teeth show’ etc. also benefit from orthognathic surgery.

Cleft lip and palate deformities

People with cleft lip and palate usually have a ‘Dish face’ deformity and benefit tremendously from orthognathic surgery.

To improve snoring and sleep apnoea

People with snoring and sleep apnoea issues who have failed all previous medical and surgical management can potentially benefit from orthognathic surgery.

Double jaw surgery benefits

Double jaw surgery is used to fix jaw deformities. The procedure could:

Correct jaw misalignment

The upper jaw and teeth should normally fit slightly above the lower teeth. You may eat and converse normally with this jaw position.

Your upper and lower teeth may not come together properly if your jaws are misaligned.

Types of jaw misalignment include:

Deep overbite

underbite

open bite

jaws that overlap sideways

jaws that meet at the wrong angle (asymmetric jaws)

The surgery could fix these issues by moving or rotating your jaws.

Correct jaw size

Jaw abnormalities might occur if your jaws did not expand at the same pace.

It’s possible that one or both jaws are undeveloped or enlarged. This can happen in combination with jaw misalignment.

Uneven jaws can be corrected using this treatment. To make your jaws more proportionate, your surgeon may move your lower jaw forward or shrink them.

Balance facial features

Double jaw surgery could correct facial asymmetry due to:

jaw misalignment

incorrect jaw size

small chin

Gummy smile

The procedure may correct these issues, thus balancing facial features.

Improve jaw function

Normal jaw alignment and size are essential for basic functions, including:

biting

chewing

swallowing

speaking

breathing

If your jaw deformities make it difficult to do these activities, double jaw surgery may help.

Relieve facial pain

The operation can also help with facial pain caused by jaw problems, such as severe temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. A double-jaw surgery might be used to treat TMJ.

The TMJ connects your lower jawbone to your skull like a hinge. Pain in the jaw, cheek, or around the ear might be caused by problems with this joint.

It may also cause:

jaw tightness

jaw locking

jaw popping or clicking

difficulty chewing

Improve obstructive sleep apnea

Your breathing briefly pauses during sleep if you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It occurs when the space in your airways narrows, making breathing harder while sleeping.

Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) surgery is a form of double jaw surgery that can help. Both jaws are frequently pushed forward by around 10cm.

Your upper and lower jawbones are pushed forward throughout the process. This frees up space in your airways, allowing you to breathe more easily while sleeping. This procedure does not usually result in the complete removal of OSA.

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Investigations required prior to Orthognathic surgery:

X-ray Lateral Cephalogram

This is a profile image of the patient’s facial bones as seen on an X-ray. This aids in determining the severity of the malformation (Bony and soft tissue).

CT scan, Virtual surgical planning, Splints and 3D models

CT scans of the face bones are obtained, and then surgical planning is done online using special software that assists the surgeon in making the actual incisions on the bone, relocating the bones to the proper position, and finally mending the bone with plates and screws. Virtual surgical planning is also used to create surgical splints and 3D models.. 

Speech assessment

Because moving the jawbones might affect speech, a speech evaluation before surgery and perhaps speech treatment following surgery will aid in maximising the outcome.

Before anaesthesia, routine blood tests are performed.

Double jaw surgery procedure

You’ll have braces 12 to 18 months before surgery to help you prepare. This will support the alignment of your teeth. For this phase, some orthodontists employ transparent aligners.

Your orthodontist and surgeon will schedule multiple appointments for you. To arrange your surgery, they’ll capture pictures and perform imaging tests.

On the day of your procedure:

You’re put under general anaesthesia, which enables you to pass out. During surgery, you will not be able to move or feel pain.

Incisions are made within your mouth by your surgeon. This minimizes the appearance of scars on your face. They may cause minor cuts on your cheeks on occasion.

One of your jawbones is sliced and repositioned by your surgeon.

They’ll put an implant in your mouth if you’re undergoing a jaw augmentation. If you have a jaw reduction, some bone will be removed.

The other jawbone may be moved, enlarged, or reduced by your surgeon.

To hold your jawbones in place, your surgeon uses titanium screws and plates.

To retain your jawbones in their new positions, they use elastic bands or wires.

You’re sent to a recovery ward, where nurses will keep an eye on you until you awake.

Your surgeon may start with the top jawbone or the lower jawbone during the operation. The order is determined by their preferences as well as your method.

Risks and side effects of double jaw surgery

Double jaw surgery, like all procedures, has potential risks. This includes:

Lip numbness

It’s common to have numbness in your lips afterward. Nerve damage after surgery could sometimes result in lifelong numbness.

Hearing changes

You may experience temporary hearing problems if the operation produces swelling or muscle stretching.

Jaw relapse

The upper and lower jaws may sometimes revert to their original positions following surgery.

Jaw fracture

A jaw fracture, sometimes known as a “bad split,” might happen after the procedure. If this happens, It’s possible that you might need a second operation.

TMJ dysfunction

Double jaw surgery may cause or worsen existing TMJ problems.

Severe bleeding

If your vessels are damaged, you may bleed more than you predicted. A blood transfusion, as well as pressure, bone wax, or gauze, may be administered by your medical staff.

Need for second surgery

You might need a second surgery if the first one doesn’t properly fix your bite.

General surgery risks

The surgery, like other procedures, carries the risk of unfavorable responses to general anaesthesia as well as surgical site infections.

Double jaw surgery recovery timeline

You’ll probably stay 1 to 3 nights in the hospital after double jaw surgery. The actual length of time will be determined by your progress.

For around 48 hours, your face will be puffy. You might be able to drink water immediately thereafter. The next day, you might be able to eat liquid foods.

Your surgeon will examine your jaws and take X-rays before allowing you to return home..

You’ll need someone to drive you home once you’ve been discharged.

You should expect to be off of work or school for 3 to 8 weeks. You’ll most likely have the following experiences at this time:

Pain

Your doctor will prescribe pain relievers to manage the pain.

Swelling

After the first 48 hours, the swelling will subside. But it will take a couple of weeks to fully disappear.

Stiffness

You won’t be able to open your mouth for the first several weeks.

Numbness

Temporary numbness in your jaw is normal. This takes a few months to go away.

Dry lips

It’s common to develop dry, chapped lips during recovery. It’s recommended that you apply lip balm frequently.

Blocked nose

You can expect to have nasal blockage and bloody discharge, but it’s critical to avoid blowing your nose. These side effects will go away after a few days.

To support a speedy recovery, it’s best to:

eat mushy or soft foods for the first 6 weeks

take your medicines as directed

avoid smoking

avoid alcohol

practice good oral hygiene (as per your doctor’s directions)

stay well-hydrated

avoid strenuous activity

Have lots of rest.

The initial phase of recovery usually lasts about 6 weeks. It can take up to 12 weeks for your jawbones to fully heal.

Alternatives to double jaw surgery

Your orthodontist will consider other treatment options before recommending double jaw surgery. Your best choice will be determined by your jaw irregularities.

Possible alternatives include:

braces (with or without elastics)

clear aligners

retainers

mouth guards

oral splints

muscle relaxants (for TMJ disorders)

Botox injections (for TMJ pain)

airway pressure devices, like a continuous airway pressure machine (for OSA)

sleep apnea appliance (mouthpiece)

behavioral therapy to relax your jaw muscles

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is double jaw surgery safe?

Yes, double jaw surgery is completely safe. It is done under anesthesia so you don’t feel any pain or discomfort.

Is jaw surgery high risk?

No, jaw surgery is not high risk. It does involve some minor risks just like any surgery but nothing major.

Is getting jaw surgery worth it?

Yes,getting jaw surgery is worth it as it can benefit you in various ways such as improving your appearance, helping with sleep apnea, relieving facial pain, etc.

How painful is double jaw surgery?

Double jaw surgery is done under anaesthesia so you will not feel any pain during the surgery.

Does jaw surgery change your lips?

Yes, double jaw surgery can change your lips. Double jaw surgery can effectively treat a cleft lip and change your lips.

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