Day 3: The Peak of the Swelling

  • Pain: 2/10
  • Inconvenience: 12/10

According to my surgeon, swelling peaks at 72 hours and stays at that point for anywhere up to a full week, at which point your face begins to return to normal. Tonight at 6:00 marks that 72-hour mark–thank God. My face is slightly fatter than it was yesterday, which makes it slightly tougher to eat, drink and breathe.

A few things I noticed this morning:

  • My breath smells a little smoky, like there’s been something fermenting in my mouth for the past 3 days.
  • I’m still completely numb from the bottom of my eyes down to the bottom of my chin–no feeling in my lips, nose, or half of my cheeks.
  • My butt hurts much less today, and I’m regaining feeling in it. I can now sit down and feel fairly comfortable about it.
  • I weighed myself this morning and have already lost 10 pounds since Monday. That’s 5.2% of my bodyweight, gone already.

On the bright side, I had a shower so I feel much cleaner now. I was also able to get a child-sized toothbrush in my mouth to brush the outsides of my teeth, so my breath is a little bit fresher. Not much, mind you. I can also move my mouth a bit, so I can now close and part my lips at will! Oh, the sheer control!

I’ve decided to start eating and drinking a little more today. For breakfast, I had an Ensure drink (335 cal) and 0.5 L of water, all by syringe of course. Then I took my meds, which included 2 shots of nasal spray per nostril (2x daily), a decongestant (2x daily), an anti-biotic (4x daily) and some medicated mouthwash (2x daily). Once this is all over, I think I’m going to slow my eating down and enjoy each bite a little bit more. I feel like lab rat having to take everything by syringe, like I’m some animal in a cage who can run up to take a drink from a tube whenever I’m thirsty.

The one thing I miss most about the hospital is the suction tube. Ya’know when you’re at the dentist and they give you the tube that you can spit into to get rid of all the nasty that’s in your mouth? I had one of those at the hospital, and it was wonderful. However, I don’t have it here at home, so the only way I can clean my mouth out is to either:

  1. Take a syringe of water and try to swallow everything down along with the water, or
  2. Take a syringe of salt water, tilt my head back and forth to swish it around as best I can, then go hang my head over the sink and let everything run out.

Disgusting? Absolutely, positively, repulsive.

I spoke with my friend from the hospital today, the girl who only had 1 jaw operated on. She told me her swelling is already decreasing, so apparently double jaw surgery is much, much worse. I’ve spent most of today wheezing away trying to get enough air.

Anyways, I’ve decided that I’m not going to waste these days away. I’m going to spend a few hours every day reading, a few hours relaxing, an hour walking the dog to get some fresh air in these lungs, and a few hours on web development, just to continue learning. Why waste any time, right?

That’s not to say I’m not going to hook my laptop up to the big screen and surround sound at some point and play Batman for a little while too…

Thanks to everyone who has offered to drop by with the following (some of these made me chuckle):

  • Liquor
  • Women
  • Movies
  • TV shows
  • Books
  • Baking (how am I supposed to eat this stuff?!)
  • Time to chat (but… I can’t talk, remember? I communicate with my parents by using a computerized voice on my laptop, like Stephen Hawking.)
  • Jello shots (I’m almost there!)


  1. I literally just had it 13 hours ago and I look like the aliens in the old twilight zone episode :”eye of the beholder” it is ridiculous. I can’t imagine it getting worse. But at least I know what to expect

  2. Hey! Oh my God so I just had my upper jaw surgery done Thursday July 30 which is 7 days from today and I had to have my teeth wired shut for ten days with absolutely no food just liquids and like I’m seriously dying! Anyways I just don’t get what the splinter is for? Like why is it required to stay on for longer than my teeth are wired: (
    My face is still pretty swollen and I hate it but the comments have really calmed me down knowing that hopefully by the 10th day (which is the day I will be getting my teeth un-wired) the swelling goes down at least so it’s not too noticeable.

  3. Hey Graham I just had jaw surgery on Monday and ready what you have to say will help me as I am quite swollen and brusied at the moment

  4. Had my double jaw surgery on Monday(Nov 17 yeah thanksgiving is going to suck) and your blog has helped to answer some of the questions I had. It’s also very entertaining… Maybe a little too much cuz I’ll smile or giggle to myself and my face will hurt. Thanks for this.

  5. Wow… many experiences from people. Im having my jaw repositioned on friday after three years of braces im am happy its got to this stage….BUT !!!!!! I am getting VERY worried about the recovery period post op. Ahhhhh ! I think that the blogs here will help me a great deal while i recover. Its nice to know your not alone….

    • Emmy, good luck with your surgery on Friday! The recovery can be frustrating, but it’s a short-term commitment for a long-term gain. =)

  6. Day 3 post op: double jaw surgery for underbite plus chin. I’m still in the hospitaal, tomorrow i’m going home, but i don’t have a splint or elastics. Today they took X rays and they say it all looks good, and i might get elastics next week. I didn’t expect that. I’m extreemly swallown and my head hurts so much. They say it’s from the pressure of the swelling. I feel weakand constantly hungry!
    Thank’s for listening!

    • Maria, welcome to the recovery phase! Everything you mentioned sounds right on track, so you have nothing to worry about. Try to keep yourself occupied with books, television, and walks outside, and you’ll be back to eating soft food in no time at all! =)

  7. Hey Graham, I really appreciate your website! I’m approaching my 3rd week post jaw surgery, just wondering if you experienced any facial breakouts as a result of surgical tape after surgery(very small bumps)? If so, what did you use for it?

    • Jakarla, I didn’t experience any breakouts myself, but I would imagine the surgical tape could induce a reaction such as that. Try using a standard cream for that sort of thing and if it doesn’t go away within a few days, give your surgeon a call to ask about it. It shouldn’t affect you too late into the recovery unless it’s a reaction to one of the medications you’re on. =)

  8. Wow, that…sounds like a nightmare. My surgeon swore up and down that if there was going to be relapse it would be months or years down the line, sounds like you’re making him eat his words. Did you have rigid fixation?

    Good luck with recovery #2, I hope it goes better the second time!

  9. Hi graham. Well your blog got me through jaw surgery 8 weeks ago and is doing it again now. I had upper jaw surgery, my palate widened, an implant put in and genioplasty. From the moment I woke up, my face looked really crooked and did not get better as time went on. Originally I had an open bite, after the first surgery I had an overbite, over jet and a cross bite. I am now three days post op from my second surgery and am just as miserable as the first time. Maybe more so because there isn’t as much numbness as there was the first time around, so I’m actually having a lot of pain. Just thought typing about it all would make me feel better. I had just gotten the ok from my surgeon to eat again a week before this surgery. So sad to have food dangled in front of me, just to have it snatched away for another 6 weeks. Does anyone else out there have experience with jaw surgery relapse?

    • Amber, that sounds so unfair! For the books, I haven’t met anyone who needed a full second surgery, but I have met several folks who needed smaller follow-up operations (to correct nose alignment, remove scar tissue, etc.). Is your second surgery meant to fix your overbite this time?

  10. well, I’m on my third revovery day from having 7 procedures done. Lefort 1 osteotemy and bonegraft, saggital split of my upper jaw, removal of wisdom teeth, amdibubalar advancement, cutting and advancement of my chin, turbinectomy, and septolasty. I’ve been in the hospital 3 nights now and theres no clear signs ill be going home today either. In a way its easier to be here in the hospital, with m suction machine and morphine, but I wouldlke to be back home. The most troublesome thing is that i cant keepany liquids down because I feel nauseated whenever i drink or stand up. How long did that feeling last for you? cuz they wont let me go home until I can drink enough to keep me hydrated without my iv fluids. I’m 18 btw, and the 3rd day really i the worst for swelling. Everythig tastes so awful and I’m starting to go crazy. I plan to read your blog for the nex couple monts and compare our situatiojs. glad to know im not the only one who’s having to suffer just to get the perfect bite.

    • Sarah, your swelling will peak at around 72 hours post-op, so your experience is perfectly normal thus far. The reason you’re feeling nauseous is because of all the blood you’ve been swallowing (whether you’re aware of it or not). This will go away over the next couple of days. I found that drinking smoothies helped out with this. While water and juice may make you want to vomit, smoothies are usually sweet and thick enough to bypass that reflex.

      All in all, you’ll be on your way home within the next 2 days. =)

  11. Have to say I had my worst night last night. Woke up with pain in my face like a toothache times 10. Can’t find hot packs that will stay warm longer than 10 minutes. The heat really is soothing. Glad to hear you’re lips were huge. I thought I was getting an infection. They don’t look like they can get any bigger without exploding, lol. Gonna take your advice and shower, eat, clean my mouth and by then it will be lunch time.Thanks for the support.

  12. Day 4: really would like to be alone. My husband and daughter are constantly asking me how I feel and/or can I get you anything. Big day tomorrow. Post op in surgeons office. I believe he is taking off the bands and showing me how to put them on. I’m soooo bored. Would love to clean house or do laundry, but know I will regret it later tonight. The weather is beautiful today. Think I’ll take a walk.

    • Tammy, the boredom is extremely frustrating, isn’t it? Busy yourself with books, walks, and movies, and you’ll soon be back in action. I promise!

  13. Just got home from double jaw surgery. Glad to be home and take a shower. Haven’t had to use alot of pain meds, but really that cuz I hate liquid medicine. Was able to stuff pill in back to mouth and swallow with sips of water. Also, my dog is very happy I’m home.

    • Tammy, you’re lucky to have a pet around right now. That unconditional love will keep you feeling good for the next few weeks!

  14. Stacey …I’m now at day 27, and believe me the swelling is at its worst from day 3 (where you are now) to about day 9 or 10. You’ll hit a point sometime around the two week mark where things will suddenly feel and look better.

    But also keep in mind that your face is going to be more filled out, even after all the swelling goes away – which will take up to 2 or 3 months.

    But yeah, push through it and know that once you get past these next 7 days, you’ll start to see the light 🙂

  15. Hi im day 3 post op double jaw surgey. Pain not to bad but the swelling is by far the worst! The pressure on my face feels like uts going to burst!!

    Ive been having soup, protain shakes and milk through s straw. Should be going home today!! Lost a bit of blood night after surgry from constant nose bleeds and coughing blood but have an iron drip yesterday and feel much better! Fab blog!

  16. Oh, cool. Wasn’t aware of that. Should make recovery that bit easier then.


  17. Jonathan, you only need the splint if you had your upper palette widened. The purpose of the splint is the keep your palette in its new position until the bone fills in (so it doesn’t collapse on itself). It sounds like you lucked out and didn’t need to have this done. Lucky you, haha!

  18. Hey Graham, firstly – fantastic blog. Being able to keep track of how you went day by day is a great gauge for me to use. I had double jaw surgery on the 12th, got out of hospital yesterday and am going through the rigours of everything right now. Fun times!!

    Couple of quick things, I haven’t had to wear a splint or take in fluid through syringes. I was able to drink from cups immediately following the post-op 24hr fast, and my surgeon hasn’t even mentioned a splint? I’m assuming it’s due to the advancements and such, but so far everything is going along well without either of those 2 things.

    Thanks mate!

  19. Hi Mary,

    Have you tried giving your son prune juice in order to naturally ease the constipation? I did that after my surgery and it really helped out.

  20. Hi Graham,

    My son had the same surgery, he came home yesterday, doing pretty well. His major problem is constipation and stomach pain due to it. Any suggestions/

    Thanks for your help.

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