Orthognathic Surgery: Cost, Risk, Recovery

Overview

Orthognathic surgery, commonly known as jaw surgery, refers to a number of procedures that corrects the structure of the face and jaw. These parts include the upper jaw, the lower jaw to the chin. The deformities are usually caused by conditions involving dental, orthodontic, and skeletal problems. In modern medicine, this surgery can also be performed to improve functions hampered by cleft palates, sleep apnoea, TMJ conditions, and malocclusion, as well as other related conditions.

Candidates

The ideal canditates for othognathic surgery include the following:

  • People who have an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly
  • Those who have cleft palate
  • The surgery is fit for people who stop growth, usually ages 14 to 16 years old females and ages 17 to 21 years males
  • Difficulty chewing or biting food
  • Chronic jaw or jaw joint pain and headaches
  • Ecessive wear of the teeth
  • Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side
  • Inability to meet the lips without straining

Risks

Orthognathic surgery is generally safe when done with the collaboration of experienced surgeons.

Risks of surgery may include:

  • Blood loss
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Jaw fracture
  • Relapse of the jaw to the original position
  • Problems with bite fit and jaw joint pain
  • Need for further surgery
  • Need for root canal therapy on selected teeth
  • Loss of a portion of the jaw

After surgery, you may experience:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Problems with eating
  • A brief time of adjustment to a new facial appearance

Costs

  • Typically, patients not covered by health insurance need to spend $20,000 to $40,000 for surgery. If surgery is made on both the upper and lower jaw, the general cost tends to be high.
  • Orthognathic surgery is covered by health insurance in some cases. As for when, specialists hold different opinions.
  • Patients covered by health insurance typically need to copay as low as a $100 copay, or as much as $5,000, provided that insurance company only covers a percentage of the surgery.

Preparation

You have a lot of things can do prior to surgery. For example:

  • Quitting smoking.
  • Arranging for the time off to recover. 
  • Learn about important details related to eating foods and taking medicines for your recovery.
  • Adjusting your current medicines based on your surgeon’s suggestions

How it is done

  • Firstly, your surgeon will place general anesthesia though your nose with a breathing tube, while your are completely asleep.
  • Then, your surgeon will make incisions primarily in your mouth, with some small incisions on the cheeks sometimes. The bones will be mobilized into the planned positions and fixed with plates and screws.
  • After surgery, your surgeon may keep a splint in place. A splint is a mouth guard that is fixed to your teeth.

Recovery

Technically, the recovery time is around three to three and a half months. However, most patients have reflected that they are able to recovery around six weeks after the surgery.

You will also be advised to strictly avoid sports that can bring a lot of stress and affect your jaw. Additionally, to avoid breathing, you may remember to use a humidifier and a wet washcloth occasionally.

Keywords: orthognathic surgery.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.