Day 13: Shaving A Numb Face

  • Pain: 3/10
  • Inconvenience: 6/10

That’s the splint. It’s pure evil.

I shaved my face today. It usually takes me 5 minutes–today it took 30 minutes. It was one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever experienced. I could feel the little hairs ripping out of my chin, but I couldn’t actually feel the blade moving across my skin. I was in fear of slicing myself open the entire time. I must admit, though, it feels great to have a clean-shaven face. Now if only I had feeling in my lips, chin and nose. If only my lip wasn’t split wide open. If only I wasn’t wired shut. If only I didn’t have a giant splint (pictured on the right, if you can make that out) rendering my mouth unusable.

I’m still having random spasms on the left side of my jaw several times each day. They’re hurting more and more, like the hinge of my jaw is trying to burst apart. It’s incredibly annoying during the night, because I’ll just fall asleep and then I’ll wake up with a terrible, throbbing pain. Last night, however, I slept from 1-4 am, and again from 5-8 am. That’s 6–count ’em, six–glorious hours of sleep! That’s the most I’ve slept in 1 night since the night of my surgery!

You’ll also notice I knocked the inconvenience factor down by 1 point. This morning, while brushing my teeth, I realized I can drink water from a cup! It’s a slow process, but it’s so much more humane than using a syringe! I feel like I’m a real person again! But only when it comes to drinking water…

I have my 2nd appointment with my surgeon on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to being granted the opportunity to brush the insides of my teeth and my tongue once more.

Happy Easter everyone! I promise I’ll participate next year. I’m only missing the food and fellowship part of it though. And the real reason for this holiday requires neither of those things.


  1. Hi guys I’m from the uk and I’m 11 days post opp. I’ve still got swelling but is going down . My lower face feel stiff and I have pins a kneedles feeling on my chin and parts around mouth on the right and yes hard to shave .any questions welcome x

  2. Thanks graham, you and your blog is a lifesaver. I have a few questions.
    1. I am hearing some weird clicking from my left side jaw which feels kinda strange. Did you notice any such thing and I’m wondering if it would go away with time?
    2. For how long you can’t blow your nose? I feel like I’m getting flu :(.
    3. When did you get feelings back in your lips, chin, and face?
    I’m experiencing pins and needles kinda pain in my lips, chin, and jaws.

    • Hi Billy!

      1. Your jaw may click for the first couple of months while everything settles into place. If it’s not painful, I would wait it out to see if it goes away. If it is painful, I would give your surgeon a call and ask them about it.

      2. I would avoid blowing your nose for at least 4–5 weeks. When you finally do blow your nose, remember to blow lightly and be gentle about it. You don’t want to dislodge any blood clots. (I know this is frustrating, but it’s worthwhile.)

      3. Most of my feeling returned in the first 6 weeks, but residual feeling took up to 4 months to return. It’s impossible to estimate when your nerves will wake up again, but it generally happens at some point during the second month of recovery.

      I hope this helps! Most of the recovery is a patience game, so just keep in mind that once you’re all healed up, you’ll never have to go through this ever again. =)

  3. Hi Graham, firstly I would like to thank you for this amazing blog, I have been reading it since my day 0 of double jaw surgery for underbite. It has really helped me a lot to know what to expect each day and surprisingly over the course of this recovery so far I’m experiencing most of the things that you have mentioned. I’m on day 13 now and my pain level has substantially increased from the last few days which is making me worried as I see you have dropped points for the level of pain you had during this week.
    My swelling is going down but at the moment my main concern is my appearance. It seems to me that the surgeon brought my upper jaw way too forward due to which I seem to have an overbite. I brought this up with my surgeon in the first post op but he said it’s all ok and my face looks rounded and chubby due to swelling. I was wondering if I could get your suggestion since you have been through this situation. I’m happy with my side profile, but not with front view as the area above my upper lip and around nose seem a bit off compared to the rest of my face.
    Thanks again and I look forward to your response. cheers! 🙂

    • Billy, thanks for the kind remarks. I also felt I had an overbite for the first few months of my recovery. However, once your swelling goes down, your face will look a little bit different. On top of that, the shape of your face/bite/smile is different than you’re used to seeing in the mirror, so it will take a month or two to accept your new look. So the lack of comfort with your new bite is partially physical and partially mental, but both should work themselves out over the next 4–6 weeks. Remember not to pass any judgements on your appearance until at least 2 months have passed. =)

  4. this makes me feel soo much better graham i feel my bottom lip completely no numbness around that area at all i feel most of my cheeks neck etc just my cheekbones and upper lip i can deal with the whole not eating thing but i cant feel my childrens kisses and this is so hard emotionally but ur my bible lol thank you soo much your such an inspiration 😀

  5. hey graeme im 10days post op getting on good but was wondering how long your lip/nose/face was numb? i got bone took from my hip and metal plates put around my eye sockets and cheekbones so im guessing ill be numb but the whole lip and top teeth being numb is soo annoying my friends went away after 2 weeks but she only got her lower jaw done wondered how long ur lasted cos you got double jaws too 😀

    • Lea-anne, I received the majority of my feeling back within 4–6 weeks. However, I still have a little bit of permanent numbness around my bottom lip, but it honestly doesn’t bother me in the least. =)

  6. I went through this surgery 4 weeks ago, and I think and I figured out a tip to shaving a numb face. It’s more of a psychology fix than anything else, really. When shaving, looking at the mirror, just pretend your a barber shaving someone else, and do your best to ignore the fact that it’s your own face that you can’t feel. If you can do that, stretching the numb chin/cheeks tight and shaving becomes a lot less scary.

  7. Hey Lindsey!

    It was already giving me problems. It was difficult to eat and talk.

    Thanks for the thoughts and I hope you have a HUGE Easter dinner in my honor!


  8. LindseyCrouser

    April 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Hey Graham,
    It took me a while to find the part that explains why you had this surgery… Could this underbite have given you any problems in the future…?? Anyways, well I am glad that everything worked out well with your surgery (especially because it sounds like a major surgery). And I am glad that you have people around you that love you and will make you smoothies…and eat burgers around you…lol. Anyways, I hope you have a great Easter and God bless you!! Linds

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