HOME CARE AFTER ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY: JAW SURGERY
Following home cares instructions is very important and will help with healing after surgery to minimize pain, discomfort, and swelling, while allowing the surrounding tissues to keep clean, aid with healing, and help to prevent potential complications.
Mild intermittent bleeding is common after surgery from the oral cavity, the nose, or both depending upon the surgery that took place. If upper jaw surgery is completed some bleeding from the nose is common after surgery as the surgical site continues healing and new tissues develop. Common causes of nose bleeding can be from quick positional head changes, excessive nose blowing, or exercising too soon. Some times bleeding from the nose can happen after a warm shower. If bleeding were to occur, gently tip your head back while gently pinching the bridge of your nose. Bleeding should stop within a few minutes. Typically, nose bleeding will have darker red color, and will bleed slowly.
After a jaw surgery procedure, there will be some facial swelling and some swelling associated with the gum tissues around the surgical site. This can be present for several days to a few weeks after the procedure. Swelling typically develops over the first 1-2 days after the procedure. Some mild bruising may develop over the skin near the surgery sites 1-2 days after the procedure. This swelling and bruising can last for a few weeks.
IBUPROFEN (MOTRIN AND ADVIL) AND ACETAMINOPHEN (TYLENOL):
These medications are the most commonly used medications for management of pain or discomfort after oral surgery procedures. These will help not only to minimize pain but also aid in reducing potential swelling.
Ibuprofen is typically prescribed as 600mg to be taken every 6 hours. This can be taken up to 5-7 days post-operatively if the patient has no medical reason to avoid this medication.
Acetaminophen is typically prescribed as 500mg to be taken every 6 hours. This can be done up to 5-7 days post-operatively if the patient has no medical reason to avoid this medication.
Please discuss any medication or dosage questions with your surgeon.
NARCOTIC (OPIOID) PAIN MEDICATION:
Post-operative discomfort is most often managed with only ibuprofen and acetaminophen, but you may be prescribed a narcotic (opioid) pain medication depending upon your procedure. Narcotic pain medication is generally only necessary during the first 3-4 days after surgery. It can be taken alternating with or at the same time as ibuprofen.
Discomfort after oral surgery procedures is most commonly felt 1-2 days after the surgical procedure and lasting up to a week.
Take narcotic medication with food, as a possible side effect of this medication is an upset stomach. Narcotics can also cause constipation. Drink fluids and use an over-the-counter stool softener if this occurs.
Narcotic pain medication is not a requirement after oral surgery procedures and should only be used as needed. This type of medication requires a paper prescription and cannot be called into a local pharmacy over the phone. If you do not use all of your narcotic pain medication, please return it to your local pharmacy for proper disposal. Discuss any questions about medication with your surgeon.
Education for Patients Regarding Opioid use and Post-Operative Pain Management
The Safe Use and Disposal of Prescription Medications
After your procedure, you may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection and help ensure healing. This medication should be started the day your procedure was completed. If you are nauseated, the medication can wait until morning. It is recommended to take this medication with food and/or a probiotic, as antibiotics can cause your stomach to become upset. If you experience gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea, please contact our office.
Ice packs can help with post-operative swelling and pain discomfort. Apply the ice pack to the outside of the face over the cheek regions where the oral surgery procedure was completed. During the first 24 hours after a procedure, apply the ice packs for 30 minutes at a time and then remove the ice packs for 30 minutes. Repeat this process as necessary. Do not leave the ice in place for more than 30 minutes at a time, as this may irritate your skin.
DIET: “WHAT CAN I EAT AFTER MY JAW SURGERY?”
It is important that you eat a healthy diet after your jaw surgery. Proper nutrition will aid in the surgical site healing. Adhere to a strict, soft non-chew diet is very important to allow for the tissues to heal properly. A non-chew diet will be required typically for a minimum of 6 weeks after surgery has been completed. Foods that are typically well tolerated right after jaw surgery are soft, cool, non-chew foods such as yogurt, ice cream, or smoothies. Additional foods such as soup, pasta, macaroni, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, and cottage cheese, are also safe to eat as you continue to heal. Avoid food items that are sharp, crunchy, or sticky like chips, crackers, peanuts, toast, rice or fruits with lots of seeds. Your doctor will help guide you as to when you can safely advance your diet throughout your healing after surgery.
ORAL HYGIENE AFTER JAW SURGERY: “WHAT SHOULD I DO?”
Good oral hygiene after jaw surgery is extremely important. This will help the surgical sites to heal, prevent infection, and to lesson discomfort in the area. Brushing your teeth twice per day is recommended. You will be advised on how to specifically clean your mouth pending on your surgery. If you are unsure, ask your surgeon for brushing techniques and information.