Must-Have Recovery Products
Many people have asked me what sorts of things they should buy to prepare for their recovery. I’ve prepared the following list of the items I found most useful during my first month after the surgery.
Note: These are all affiliate links to products listed on Amazon, so clicking them and completing a purchase helps me pay for hosting this site (at no extra cost to you), yay! No pressure if you’d rather run to your local supermarket to grab these things. 😉
- Food preparation (blend all the things!):
- Magic Bullet blender — This blender makes perfectly-sized portions for those first few weeks when you’re on a liquid diet. It blends frozen fruit without trouble and you can prepare up to 5 meals at a time using the included cups. (A smaller version with only 2 cups is available for half the price.)
- Syringes — Your hospital should provide a few syringes, but in case they don’t, you may want to buy a few to make drinking soup easier for the first few days when swelling is the worst.
- Food (for the liquid diet days):
- Ensure meal replacement drinks — These may not be the most delicious drinks, but they provide enough calories to give you some energy during the liquid diet phase.They should also satisfy any chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry cravings you’re having.
- Boost meal replacement drinks — If you don’t like the flavor of Ensure, these will serve the same purpose. Also available in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
- Chicken broth — During the first few days when the swelling makes it difficult to open your mouth, things like chicken broth can provide some much-desired flavor.
- Tomato soup — Also good for the first few days when you’re on a purely liquid diet.
- Campbell’s Chunky Soup — These were my favorite meals while on a liquid diet. I would heat them up on the stove and then blend them in the Magic Bullet before “eating” them. Lots of tasty flavors available: Chicken Noodle, Chicken Pot Pie, Pot Roast, Grilled Sirloin Steak with Hearty Vegetables, Beef with Country Vegetables, etc.
- Prune Juice — This may sound like a silly one, but it will make your toilet time a lot more enjoyable during the first couple of weeks.
- Fruit smoothies — These were another staple for me while on the liquid diet. I blended strawberries, bananas, oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, yogurt, vanilla ice cream, and whole milk for a delicious, high-calorie drink. Read my post about it.
- Entertainment (to keep you from going crazy!):
- Complete series of your favorite TV shows — The first few weeks of recovery are quite boring, unfortunately, so having lots of TV shows and movies to watch will help pass the time. (I recommend Friends and Cheers.) Video games and books can help as well, but note that you will be lacking in energy (both physically and mentally) due to your body being focused on healing.
- Other useful things:
- Hot packs — Heating these up in the microwave and resting them on your face will help ease the pain and soothe you to sleep.
- Medicated lip balm — You’re likely to have cracked lips during the first couple of weeks and this can be quite painful. Lip balm will help with this. (Vaseline works too!)
- Waterpik flosser — I never used this myself, but many readers said it was the only way they were able to clean their mouth at first. (Once you begin to taste your breath, you’ll understand.)
- Lots of cloths — Having cloths handy will help during those particularly “drooly” days.
You shouldn’t have to worry about medicine or syringes because the hospital should provide both of these for you. Be sure to fill all of your prescriptions the day you’re allowed to return home, because you’ll likely need each and every one of them eventually. I didn’t pick up my painkillers at first because I was completely numb and felt no pain, but a few days later, when I was unable to sleep due to discomfort, I wished I had that medicine on hand.
If you found something that really helped you through your recovery, feel free to share it with others in the comments.
July 29, 2019 at 1:08 pm
I am in the process of aligning my teeth for D.J.S. and I am a nervous wreck.
I suffer from anxiety and one of my largest fears is not being able to breath.
Would I be able to breath through my mouth ?! Any comforting words would help.
September 3, 2019 at 2:51 am
I know you posted this comment a while ago so a reply may not be needed anymore but I thought I’d do one just incase.
I am day 4 post op and I was extremely worried about not being able to breathe. I think at all times you just need to remain calm and breathe slowly because the whole thought of the mouth being closed is enough to make you panic. My nose after surgery was completely blocked with blood and gunk and is now just starting to budge, but your throat is fine. It can be painful to swallow but you will always be able to breathe. The first days are hard in terms of energy, eating, drooling, pain but they go by quickly. Your throat will never be blocked. Best of luck you will be fine and come out stronger and happier x
September 4, 2017 at 11:25 am
I have to go for a re-opt. Post surgery 1.5 years. Fibrous union at the upper jaw instead of bones healing themselves. Gonna harvest bones from my hips to be placed at the upper jaw. Life sucks. Dreading to go through the whole recovery process again. Scheduled for surgery next week.
April 11, 2017 at 5:20 am
Wow this website helped a lot in giving reassurance.
Today is my 8 days post-op double jaw surgery and genioplasty. First few days were quite horrible for me. I felt like one huge swollen marshmallow. I couldn’t drink anything. Getting two sips of Any drink was a tedious process. Medication time was even worse. The medication had to be crushed and diluted in some water. But boy oh boy! That medication smelt so bad and I couldn’t help but want to hurl the minute I tasted it.
The past 2 days has been a bit more bearable in taking the medication but my biggest problem I’m having currently is tiredness and shortness of breath. I cannot keep my neck unsupported for more than 10-15 mins at a time. This is worrying me as next week I return to dental school and I have to work on patients. Has anyone also had a similar issue?
Lots of love from South Africa
April 11, 2017 at 7:25 pm
Hi Raeesa I am also day 8 post op for double jaw and genioplasty! Starting to slowly try to get some work done from home and get back to some school work, but my brain feels like it’s stuck in mud! The thing that is driving me the most crazy is the tingly in my lower lip and the lack of control I feel over my lips. I also kind of think I look like I’ve had a stroke, with a droop at the side of my mouth (I haven’t had a stroke, but have the stroke-like droop). I have been able to attend a couple of short meetings for work the last couple of days, but am totally wiped again after the hour or so! Every day is a little bit better, just getting annoyed with all the things that I can’t do.
August 8, 2017 at 12:19 pm
I’m about to do upper and lower jaw surgery and I’m terrified. I’m wondering if you could tell me a bit more about your recovery and overall experience. Would you do this again? If you can or have time to share a little more I’d be so grateful.
September 13, 2017 at 12:56 pm
Hi Julie:) sorry I am only seeing this now…
If you have already been through the surgery, I wish you all the very best with the recovery ❤ if you haven’t, then I will be glad to put your mind at ease.
It is now 5 Months after my surgery, and I cannot explain how great it feels. Every minute of swelling and discomfort has pain off with the great results I have been blessed with.
The first few days were very frustrating for me- I really wanted to talk but no1 understood my muffles. I had to write everything down. I was also incredibly hungry but no liquids could help. I struggled a lot with swallowing as my palatial muscles were in spasm- that soon went away and I was more able to swallow and fill my tummy. As the days went by, my energy returned little by little, however my total strength only returned in my 4th week post-op.
However, I should mention that I experienced no pain at all. I was given pain medication for 7 days, but on day 5 when my antibiotics ended, I stopped the pain medication too. Its more discomfort than pain that You feel. Sleeping upright was very tiresome and irritating for me (especially for 5 weeks) but I learnt how to make it easier and more comfortable using a neck pillow.
Drink meal supplements, I drank Fresubin and it was a great help. Initially it nauseated me but soon drinking 1 bottle a day became a joke. You will end up getting tired of the same drinks, so experiment in the kitchen (after week 2) with different milkshakes etc.
But nevertheless, it is worth every single minute! Do not let people discourage you. If its something you want done, then do it. It does wonders for one’s self-esteem. All the best 🌻 lots of love, Raeesa from South Africa
February 14, 2017 at 2:17 am
My teeth are a bit misaligned (but not too much), and I went to an orthodontist here in Melbourne (Australia). She advised me to have braces (up and down), and lower jaw surgery (to correct a minor overbite). I have to make my decision as soon as possible, whether I want to have the surgery next year or not, so that she knows what type of braces she puts for me.
I am incredibly stressed, because I found out about all the complications that can appear, but especially about the numbness that can affect you for the rest of your life.
Could you please tell me about the numbness? Can you still feel your lower lip, chin, cheeks, etc?
Given that my problem is not severe, I’m trying to weight my options: whether is worth or not for me to have the surgery. It can almost be considered more of an appearance issue, than a health issue, in my particular case. If the risks are too high, I don’t want to do the surgery. And I’m not happy to live the rest of my life without feeling my lips. 🙁 I hope I don’t bother you too much. I am really stressed, so an honest answer would be greatly appreciated!!! 🙂
Thank you very much.
I hope all the people who had the surgery are recovering very well!
All the best!
February 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm
I have not gone through surgery yet, im waiting to get my surgery in the next couple of months! I’m having double jaw surgery with me having an underbite. Which means my face cheeks down, will be numb for a bit.
The chance of your numbness not coming back is very rare, it just takes a few months to get all the sensation back in ur face, you will experience tingling and that’s your nerves ‘stitching’ themselves back together! Seems it’s just your lower jaw they’d be moving you would not have a lot of problems.
What helped me was watching tons of YouTube videos and watching people’s recovery from there personal experience, because then they tell you there story and you get enough knowledge out of it to think to your self ‘is that healing process something I could deal with’. It helps a lot to know what to expect! And see if you can see any thing that reaccures on what people say. And if your appearance is something that bothers you and your conscious of then go for it, for the benefit of YOU! But if you are happy the way you are then just think a lot about it 🙂
But like I said I havnt gone through mine yet so I can’t tell you from a personal experience but I still hope it’s helped you out a bit,
Best of luck with what decision you choose ☺️👍🏼
February 15, 2017 at 6:33 pm
Hi Julia! I felt a numbness in my chin for a while. I had my surgery in July 2016. The numbness is gone but I sometimes feel a tiny sensation when I drink or eat something super cold but overall the numbness isn’t there! I don’t regret the surgery one bit!
March 9, 2017 at 3:05 am
Hi Julia, I’m also in Melbourne and am having a Le fort 1, with lower mandibular advancement in a couple of months time.
I’ve already had sarpe surgery and have had full braces for 18 months. I had numbness with the sarpe, but to be honest you kind of get used to it, and it has largely returned. I’ve been told there’s more chance of permanent numbness with the lower jaw (I guess due to the large nerve there) but you can have acupuncture to help the feeling to return to this area.
There is a higher chance of numbness the older you are, I’m about to turn 44 so it’s crucial that you get acupuncture around two weeks after surgery, the age you are is the percentage of permanent numbness you risk.
Hope all goes well for you, I don’t regret my decisions regarding my teeth and jaws for a second, my only regret is that I’m not younger! Dawn
October 22, 2016 at 4:34 am
I am 12 days out from surgery – both jaws, along with my chin and my wisdom teeth. I’m taking 3 weeks off work, and I have a uni exam 26 days after surgery. I hope that I’ll feel ok to study, and return to work in that timeframe.
Thanks to this blog I’m feeling less anxious about the actual surgery. This is the second time in braces – when the ortho tells you to wear your retainers every 2nd night for life…do it – my dad didn’t even mention surgery last time.
My overbite, along with my lips not meeting mean I’m a chronic mouth breather. This led to severe gum recession from my mouth being so dry and I’ll need grafts on my gums in time. Without correcting my overbite, I’ll lose my teeth eventually because of the issues – surgery was really a no-brainer for me. Has anyone else had gum issues? Does it make the recovery any worse?
October 22, 2016 at 10:20 am
Hi Kylie, Good luck with your surgery . I hope you’re ready as well. I took 8 weeks off from work. I am just getting my energy back at 5 weeks. I also had double jaw surgery and had my chin moved back. The surgery itself was not painful for me it’s the swelling that hurt me. Bruising started going away around 3 weeks. I’m not sure how long you will be wired up. my Dr. Said 6 weeks before I can even try soft food. You won’t feel anything in regards to gum recession because of the numbness. Like I said I’m 5 weeks post open and still have no feeling in my mouth. I had bone grafting done last year and stilll have gum sensitivity. Im hoping that it will improve over time. Talk to your surgeon,but with my double jaw surgery they have to go in and scrape my sinuses or what ever they do in there helps with breathing and sleeping. I had little tiny nostrils. He even widened them for me. I have been sleeping much better.
P.s. Eat lots of protein for energy and take a liquid vitamin B complex it heals the nerves faster. Rest and stay hydrated.
Good luck with your surgery.
October 30, 2016 at 5:18 am
Thank you for your comments! Hope that you’re enjoying eating soft food again 🙂
October 21, 2016 at 4:33 pm
Hi I am 10 days post op now, I wish I had seen this site earlier, it would have calmed my nerves enormously about recovery. So far my biggest issue has been nerve pain, and gagging at the sight of any more liquid medicine haha.
October 21, 2016 at 5:07 pm
Hi Chris I am 5 weeks post op and continuously have nerve pain. My surgeon Saif that is a sin of healing.
I am so sick of blended food as well.I never did do ensure. I cook regular meals and blend with some soup broth, so at least I have a little variety. Stir fry with chicken is my favorite so far. Oh by the way I have a vita Mix. it blends everything!
July 23, 2016 at 7:11 am
Does anyone have trouble with all the ensure, medicine, etc. getting stuck in your mouth and back of your throat? My son had double jaw surgery 4 days ago and is having an issue with getting things out of his mouth and throat, among many other issues that other people are discussing on this sight, ie not being able to sleep upright and the constant congestion where he can’t breathe out of his nose, and no appetite.
Any suggestions? He says rinsing with water doesn’t help.
July 24, 2016 at 1:55 am
Robin, this is a common frustration during the first month. Many people have had success by using a Waterpik flosser to dislodge food from their braces and splint. Personally, I did not use one of these so I cannot attest to how effective they are, but I haven’t heard anyone complain about them so far. Hope this helps!
September 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm
My surgeon said to stay away from the water pick at first. It could cause damage to your stitches. They are to aggressive in the first few weeks.
September 25, 2016 at 3:11 pm
This is a fair point. Perhaps it’s best to combat this frustration by swishing warm salt water around for the first few weeks. 👍
March 19, 2017 at 1:56 am
I’m 4 days post double jaw surgery correcting my underbite and I’ve the exact same problem. Worse is when I cry with the pain it blocks up my sinuses more and I can barely breathe. Best thing I found was to stay calm take a nasal spray to clear sinuses and take my inhaler it will pass just staying calm is the trick
July 3, 2016 at 8:41 am
On my 5th day of post op and everything’s going better than expected. Can swallow pills and use a cup right from the get go. Only problem is this diarrhea I’m having. 7 times from the afternoon straight through the night.
Really decreases my appetite, though I’ve tried to drink as much water as I can. Only other thing I’ve drunk is hot chocolate and a ginger/turmeric tea that I’m hoping helps with the swelling, along with 2 cups of prune juice.
Am I doing anything wrong? 🙁
July 4, 2016 at 1:48 am
Corben, this is interesting because most people struggle with constipation following the operation. It may be possible that one of the medications you’re taking is being rejected by your body, but I unfortunately wouldn’t be able to identify that.
I recommend calling your surgeon’s office and telling them what you just told us with the hope that others have also encountered this issue. They might be able to tell you which medication to have changed or provide some other insight. Hope this helps! 😊
June 30, 2016 at 1:42 pm
I would like to add to this, if you live in a super dry place such as Colorado, Utah, Nebraska, etc, and you got surgery done on your top jaw, GET A HUMIDIFIER! When you get surgery on your top jaw, your nasal cavities fill up with blood. Living in a dry area will make the blood dry up and it will become almost impossible to get it out! So, sleep with a humidifier by your bed for at least the first week!
July 2, 2016 at 4:24 pm
Mary, thanks for this good tip! I had my surgery in a very dry place as well, but I spent the first 2 weeks of recovery with my mother and she has a humidifier, so I guess I took that for granted. 😊
January 8, 2017 at 10:35 pm
Thanks for this! I live in Utah and will be having my double jaw surgery in just under 7 weeks, and I’d been really worried about the dryness. I will definitely invest in a humidifier!
June 26, 2016 at 1:51 am
Just had surgery on Friday June 24! Feeling okay, lots of numbness, drooling a bloody noses. Hard to fall asleep and when I do, I wake up feeling like I can’t breathe. Takes me about 20 minutes to steady my breathing.
June 26, 2016 at 11:28 pm
Mariah, what you’re experiencing sounds quite normal, as frustrating as that may be to hear. As long as you’re able to calm yourself down and steady your breathing, there’s nothing to worry about. The swelling and congestion during the first week can make you feel quite claustrophobic, but remember that your swelling will decrease in a big way by the start of your third week… and that’s just around the corner! Hang in there! 😊
July 11, 2016 at 2:15 pm
Had my 2 week post-op and the doc said everything is looking good. I forgot to ask him if headaches were normal. I’ve been getting them several times a week, should I be worried?
July 12, 2016 at 10:02 am
Headaches are fairly normal and you should not have to worry about them. They can result from being dehydrated, which can be solved by drinking more water each day, or from the extra tension in your jaw. Paracetamol (eg. Tylenol) should be able to provide some relief, but don’t hesitate to call your surgeon’s office and ask about them just to be certain. 😊
July 11, 2016 at 2:02 pm
How are you feeling? I had surgery the day before you and for about the first week I was so anxious because I never felt like I could get enough air in. Hope it’s getting easier for you!
July 11, 2016 at 2:17 pm
Feeling much better now! I’m able to eat mash potatoes and rice which is much better than broth and Boost. How’s everything feeling for you?
July 11, 2016 at 5:13 pm
I wish I could eat mashed potatoes and I want rice so bad!!! I have a splint and am wired shut for six weeks so I’m doing meal replacement shakes (uhg so sick of chocolate flavor) and smoothies! I can’t stomach any soups, they’re all just grossing me out so I get in way more calories with smoothies. Are you getting feeling back yet?
July 11, 2016 at 6:26 pm
Totally understand how u felt, being wired shut for 6 weeks. Keep holding on and focus on the end goal. then u will do fine.
August 16, 2017 at 12:43 pm
Hi Samantha, I had a double jaw surgery four weeks ago. I have still a splint and am wired shut two more weeks like you. I have a problem with gingivitis, ıt causes too much pain:( my ortodontist said that it results from food accumulation in my mouth. Have you ever had a problem like this and how did you make your mouth wash? And after your splint was gone, when did you start to eat more solid food like mashed potato?
June 2, 2016 at 12:09 am
I just got double jaw surgery with genioplasty 6 days ago. I am currently feeling better with the swelling starting to decrease. My only issue is thag during the night the past two nights trying to go to bed without taking oxycodone my stomach starts getting so nauseated that my stomach starts burning and the feeling of throwing up comes but then i go downstairs and take about 2 syringes of ensure and an oxycodone pill and then im able to sleep again. Im not sure why the feeling of nausea in the middle of the night. Has anyone had this?
June 2, 2016 at 9:38 pm
Lauren, I’m just speculating here, but these feelings of nausea could be a sign you’re not drinking enough water during the day. Given that you’re not able to eat as much during the initial few weeks of recovery, it’s possible your stomach is a bit on the acidic side due to not being diluted with appropriate amounts of food and water. Maybe try drinking a bit more water during the day and see if that helps?
Again, remember that this is just a thought and is in no way a medical opinion. 😊
May 16, 2016 at 2:46 pm
Hi! I’m really glad I found this. I went in to see an ortho about 10months ago for braces and he came back telling me I also needed double jaw surgery. I was so so nervous about the procedure but happy to read all of these stories. I hadnt heard of this before let alone knew there was a bunch of people going through it. anyways! Im wondering where you are from. Because in Alberta canada, where I am..I was told by the them that my surgery was going to cost 10 thousand dollars. With no payment plans in place or coverage because it’s labeled cosmetic. yet Im told of all these problems in the future if I dont get it! Do you know (if you are in Canada) if there is ANY way to lower this or get coverage? Im also spending another 10-12K on my own for braces/xrays/extractions and all that other stuff. It’s really stressful! thanks again!!
May 16, 2016 at 3:27 pm
I live in Calgary and I underwent double-jaw surgery back in January. 10k is unfortunately the out-of-pocket cost for the surgery, but in fact it costs the province closer to 50k which is covered by AHS. It’s still a lot of money to cover in total, but we are quite fortunate that most of it is covered by the province. I postponed this surgery when I lived in the states (California) as the surgery alone would’ve cost me 60k+. All the best with your surgery!
May 16, 2016 at 3:31 pm
Hey thanks! I had no idea it was actually that high all together. Good to know!! And thank you ! Hopefully it’ll be beginning of next year
June 1, 2016 at 11:50 pm
Hello kayla! I actually am currently recovering from double jaw surgery that i had friday may 27th and in Quebec Canada it only costed me 3000 to get it done . The rest was covered under health care.
June 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm
Wow! That’s so great 😀 I love Alberta except for their dental costs that’s for sure…hahaha!
May 16, 2016 at 10:34 pm
Hi Kayla! I just read through your GoFundMe page and am really encouraged by how your friends and family are supporting you in this process.
I lived in Edmonton when I had the surgery and my surgeon was Dr. Lahl. The name of his clinic is Renew Surgery, so feel free to look it up and give them a call if you’d like. My surgery cost $5,000 total, but I think that’s because Dr. Lahl was able to convince AHS that it was “medically necessary to prevent future complications.” I also had to pay the full cost of my braces (which is a completely separate thing) and I had to pay $1,600 to have all of my wisdom teeth removed.
I hope this helps and hopefully you’re able to get a reduced cost for the operation. Let me know if you need anything else and I encourage you to join the chat group (if you haven’t already) to get some more support from people who have already been through this ordeal. 😁
May 17, 2016 at 8:50 am
Hey thanks so much! It’s been very humbling to have so much help I never expected! I’m still pretty new to this navigating thing so I will definitely check out the chat area. I love how active this site is. 🙂 because like I said, I never even heard of this procedure let alone thought so many others were going through it. I’m in red deer so that’s not a terrible trip if need be!
May 17, 2016 at 2:55 pm
I got double jaw surgery the day you posted this comment (yesterday). So far I can confirm each step Graham has outlined elsewhere. It’s a pretty surreal experience getting the general anesthesia. I woke up what felt like seconds later, but I think it was 4 hours that passed!
June 1, 2016 at 6:18 pm
Hi Kayla, I received a quote in Edmonton three years ago. I was told $8-10,000!! Luckily I had just moved from Saskatchewan and had a previous quote from there: $1500 + x-rays. (This is basically the cost of the splints, and a small surgeon’s fee). The only reason it is so expensive in Alberta is because of mark up in surgeons’s fees. Because I had started the process in Saskatchewan before moving, I was allowed to go back and finish there. This involved about 6-7 trips back and forth before and after the surgery, but even with travel costs it was still significantly lower than what they wanted here in Alberta. Perhaps try contacting a few surgeons in a different province and ask them if it is possible to have the surgery there.
June 11, 2016 at 6:27 pm
Thank you! I appreciate this advice. You never know until you ask. 🙂
May 11, 2016 at 7:34 am
I am Darren from Malaysia. I had my double jaw surgery done on 30 December 2015. It’s around 4 months post-op now and I am currently doing great.
Just to share a little about my jaw surgery experience. It’s different from what I have seen so far here and also on youtube.
I had braces when I was 17 – 18 years old. It’s kinda late, but oh wells. The orthodontist suggested jaw surgery to correct my bad underbite then but the idea wasn’t accepted by my parents. Hence, I had just the expander thingy and braces for two years. Removed it later after 2 years and was on retainer since then.
Fast forward to 2014. I am working now and kinda more in control of my life decisions. so I went to see an oral surgeon (who was also my current dentist – scaling, filling etc) at the end of Dec 2014. He asked some questions like the reason I want the jaw surgery bla bla bla. Took some impressions and x-rays then to monitor if there were still any jaw growth in me (in 2014, I was 27). He told me to retake those impressions and x-rays after 6 months to see if the jaws are still the same.
After 6 months, I went back to see my surgeon and he gave the clearance for the surgery. I had a class III malocclusion. So I need to push my upper jaw outwards and lower jaw inwards. Also to shift my slightly misaligned jaw. My surgeon used a 3D planning software from Belgium (if I am not mistaken, the company is called Materialise) to plan for my surgery and also to get the splinters done. Don’t think so this techno is available here in my home country. zzz. After a few appointments with my surgeon, we arranged for the surgery to be done on 30 December 2015. Note that I have no braces on at that time. The appointments I had with my surgeon are normal check-ups to ensure that my oral hygiene is optimal for the surgery, e.g. no gums problem etc.
Come the surgery day! 30 Dec 2015! I checked in the hospital a day before the surgery. Did some tests. Final checks by the surgeon and his team of surgeons. They also fixed some metal-arch thingy on my upper or lower jaw. Can’t remember which. This arch is to hold the wires together (upper + lower) later after the surgery, since I had no braces on me then. I went in for surgery in the morning. Oh, I did everything alone, from checking in until going into the surgery. I don’t live with my parents and I wouldn’t want to trouble them too. I actually just informed my mum about the surgery. I didn’t tell my dad or other siblings. Haha.
The surgery started around 10 am and lasted for approx. 10 hours. I remember waking up when they were wheeling me to the PACU (post-anesthetic care unit) for 1 night monitoring. I remembered when I woke up, i tried to pull the breathing tubes (i think) out from my mouth (or nose… not sure) coz I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The nurses held down my hands and tied my hands on the bed railings for the whole night. I wasn’t fully awake for the first night in PACU, but I did wake up once a while and to doze back again.
The next morning, I vomited some stuff out and they have to suction it out. I think my mouth was bandaged together (around my head). Can’t really remember. That was the only time I vomited. But it’s not much. I wasn’t in pain, just weak from the surgery. I went back to the normal hospital ward after that. Both my jaws were not wired shut after the surgery, just the bandage. It was removed on the next day of the surgery too. The urinal catheter sucks btw. and the tubes going into your hands suck too. I think they r the worst part of the surgery. I spend around 5 nights in the hospital. Wasn’t wired shut, therefore swelling is not significant. I can open my mouth bit by bit as the days passed by in the hospital. Not big though. I was fed milk for 3 days through my nose as meal replacements. After that, doc told me i can take porridge (congee) which was blended. I drank it through a cup, since I am not wired shut yet.
On the day of checking out from the hospital, the surgeon wired me shut. with wires. both jaws. together. zzz. that’s when my swelling is maximised. somewhere around the 6th day or 7th day post-op. It was terrible. damn swollen. My doctor suggested me to take Enercal (protein drink) to replace my meals. I had to eat through syringes since then. I basically drink lots of Enercal and soy milk. Drank alot alot of water too. Iced my face alot too. And also with heat packs. Sometimes, I blend juices which are good for the bones (apple + orange + celery) or blend some soup. I also blend fish porridge to give me some energy. But it’s important to note that doing all these stuff by yourself will consume lots of energy and you will usually feel lethargic after the cooking + eating process. Since I am afraid of infection, I cleaned my mouth thoroughly after each meal. I brushed the outer part of my teeth with a baby toothbrush, then cleaned the teeth with a water pick (shooting inside my mouth through the small gap between my teeth), and then using the syringe to spray warm salt water + Oradex inside the mouth. I had to do it since my jaws were wired shut. I couldn’t gargle as the mouth area and lips were quite numb. Wasnt really in control of my mouth. I did this routine for at least 3 times a day.
My jaws were wired shut for a total of 6 weeks. Means 6 weeks of liquid diet. I lost 10 kg. My swelling started to decrease significantly on the 5 – 6th week. I had control of the muscles around my mouth around the 5th week too. I started to use a spray to drink my liquid food and also managed to gargle my mouth (no more syringes). I also tried to walk alot despite being lethargic as advised by some of the previous patients here and in youtube. I think I did not face any major problems during my recovery, except for trying to sleep straight with the face in the upright position. I used to sleep on my sides, therefore i found it hard to sleep at night. However, I gave up trying to sleep with the face facing upright after a few days when i was home from hospital. My doctor said it’s alright actually, just to cushion soft pillows underneath your face when u r sleeping on your sides. zzz. I went back to work at the 5th week, still with the jaws wired shut.
6-weeks post op. The surgeon took off my wires!! I remembered feeling very liberal after that. Had to do jaw exercise (using Popsicle sticks) a few times in a day. I can start to eat soft food to learn how to chew again. It was really weird, and most of the times I am just swallowing my food. As time passes, I am able to eat almost anything that doesn’t require me to use my jaws to tear off the food (e.g. pizza, sandwich, burgers). Up till now (as I am writing this, I am 4 months post op), I avoid using the jaws directly to tear/ bite off the food. Now I am able to chew and eat properly. I just had my braces at the 4th month post op (End of april 2016). The orthodontist and surgeon said I would probably need to wear it for just 6 – 9 months, just to fix minor misalignment. My surgeon actually said i can go without braces too, since both jaws and also the teeth are quite aligned and the surgery went as planned. Oh, I had a genioplasty too. The surgeon felt I need it since he pushed back my lower jaw. Forgot to mention, the surgery took 10 hours coz they had difficulty cutting the upper jaw. That was what I was told. Lost a bag of blood only. So all in, the surgery went well, with no major complications.
In conclusion, my double jaw surgery experience is different as I only had braces again after the surgery itself. My surgeon is different from the conventional orthognathic surgery as usually the patient has to wear braces for 1 – 2 years before the surgery and also for some time after the surgery. The route I took is much shorter if compared to the conventional way. To quote my surgeon, my jaws and teeth are aligned to what he wants, and the orthodontist has to follow his plans. This means the surgeon is in control of the results, not the orthodontist. I am not sure if the orthodontist is the one who is more in control of the results in conventional jaw surgeries.
Haha. I wanted to share this earlier, but didn’t have the time to do it. Feel free to ask me any questions if you have any. Pardon my bad English. Cheers! and to all peeps that are undergoing to surgery or going to have this surgery later, don’t be worried! Focus on the ultimate goal! Keep your spirits high and be positive! You won’t be in pain as you will be numb. It’s just a hassle to eat and to clean thoroughly everytime you ate. And feeling hungry most of the times. Other than that, all will be great. Good luck!
May 11, 2016 at 8:06 pm
Darren, thanks for sharing your story! It’s interesting that your orthodontist put braces back on after the surgery, but it’s good to know that post-op braces are also a viable solution.
(Also, I can totally relate to the pain of the catheter… that was awful!)
Glad you’re several months out and enjoying life again. Take care!
May 12, 2016 at 6:31 am
Thanks Graham! Thank you so much for this site. Really helped me a lot. =)
May 12, 2016 at 12:29 am
Hey Darren, I’m from Singapore. We’re neighbours!
Thanks for sharing your story.
May 11, 2016 at 2:58 am
I bought a tin of Ensure in anticipation for my jaw surgery. Now I really regret it. I had one box of vanilla flavour and it’s so disgusting :(. But unfortunately I can’t stomach it so it’ll have to stay there and gather dust. Brand’s Essence of Chicken isn’t great either.
Juice and soy milk are OK. Tomato soup is great, and so is the congee my mum makes.
I’m really looking forward to making some smoothies but going outside
just for one hour to get those ingredients is incredibly tiring.
May 11, 2016 at 7:18 am
Kay, I think drinking Ensure is the most difficult part of recovery, haha! The only 2 foods I found any satisfaction in during my recovery were fruit smoothies (frozen berries, milk, honey, peanut butter, and yogurt) and Campbell’s Chunky soups (heated, then blended). I hope you’re able to find some sort of sustenance that you can stomach until you’re able to eat soft food. Remember that this phase is only temporary and you will be able to eat soft food again soon. Hang in there!
May 12, 2016 at 12:26 am
I’m going out to get some fruits to make smoothies with today. I hope I can stomach it.
I was hospitalised for two days, and threw up blood 3 times during that time. I don’t know what they gave me when I was out, but I think they gave me some anti-nausea medication, but it soon wore off and at times the nausea was so bad that I didn’t even want to move. A nurse administered another dose after the 3rd time I threw up and it was better.
But once I got back home I’ve been feeling this almost constant, low-grade nausea, which severely curtailed my ability to try to consume calories. But eventually I became hungry! Having trouble with bowel movement as well, but I guess it’s hard to poop if you can barely eat anything. So yesterday I tried to eat that congee up and some hot-and-sour soup. I ended up vomiting half of it out in the evening.
I also threw up when I woke up today, despite my stomach being nearly empty. Today is exactly 1 week since my surgery.
I know first week is the worst but it seems like nobody else has it this bad with the nausea and throwing up. Not to mention constipation and stuffy ears (I can barely hear anything).
Sorry if it’s gross but I’m kind of in agony here, I just try to think that it will get better like you say. Can’t help but think of the movie Groundhog Day.
May 12, 2016 at 1:01 am
Hi Kay. Hope it gets better for you soon. Be strong!
My doctor told me the throwing up thingy is because of the meds they administered. Perhaps try talking to your doctor about your current condition.
Try Enercal if Ensure is not suitable for you.
I think my first few days were in hospital. I had just pure milk for the first few days, and congee later on. And i forgot to mention that I had gastric too, because of the milk. Haha. I did not know that I am actually lactose-intolerant. So the doctor stopped the milk and fed me blended congee instead. No problems passing motion though.
Stay strong! I have my doctor’s cell phone number and he said I can whatsapp him anytime if there were any concerns.
April 6, 2016 at 9:52 am
I’m having this surgery done in June and I’m trying to get stuff ready ahead of time. What kind of syringes did you use for eating? I tried your link but it isn’t working.
Thanks for this page it’s given me a lot of insight into what I will be looking at.
April 6, 2016 at 7:18 pm
Hi Marlana, apologies for the broken link… I guess that product is no longer being sold. The hospital I stayed in provided a bunch of syringes for me, but the key to them being useful was the plastic tubing on the end. The tube allows you to push liquid into the back of your mouth where you can actually swallow it.
If your hospital doesn’t offer you any syringes, something like this might do the trick: http://www.amazon.com/100ml-Syringe-handy-plastic-tubing/dp/B00N2EMZB8/. You can simply cut the tubing to a length that works for you.
March 20, 2016 at 6:43 pm
Getting my surgery done at the beginning of June! I’ve been waiting for this since I was 14, and I’m going to be 19 this summer, so it’s been a long time coming. Thanks so much for all these tips!
May 11, 2016 at 5:55 am
I’m exactly the same, had braces since I was 13, I’m now 19 and had my double jaw surgery on 5th April 2016. I’m currently still wired shut but time really does fly by and it really isn’t as bad as you think it will be!
Good Luck and I hope everything goes well for you! 🙂
June 1, 2016 at 6:14 am
Hi! I’m in the same boat here, I’m 17 and having my surgery in just about three weeks. The anticipation is killing me and making me so nervous at the same time! I would love to hear how things are working out for you!
June 11, 2016 at 10:56 am
Hey! I’m currently on Day 4 post op, and it has definitely not been the easiest time for me. I spent one night in the hospital, and then the day after the procedure was probably the hardest for me.
All I’ve been eating/drinking these past few days is water, ensure, chicken soup, Danactive, and my medications. Oh, and my boyfriend brought me a Starbucks frappucino yesterday which was super yummy and put me in a good mood haha!
All these blogs and YouTube videos say that the first week is probably the hardest, and I’m definitely going ahead and agreeing. The swelling and bruising is pretty bad, and I can’t wait till my one week appointment so I can brush my teeth!! You really do take for granted things like brushing your teeth or drinking from a regular cup.
Take all your pain medications on time, stay very very hydrated, and make sure you always have a parent or someone with you for the first little while!! I don’t know what I would be doing if my mom wasn’t taking this week off to help take care of me.
Definitely take advantage of eating before and have all your favorite meals!! I literally gained 10 pounds before my surgery because of all the yummy foods I was trying to eat before this long, tedious liquid diet had to begin, but I don’t regret it at all haha.
Best of luck with your surgery coming up!! xoxo
January 9, 2016 at 6:17 pm
Hello all! My name is Quyn Israel and I am 17 years old, I am still struggling to figure out when my surgery is but it will most likely happen in February or March. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has shared their experience it has helped to ease my nervousness and fear. I feel that everything will work out but I am still scared that something might go wrong. I’m trying to keep a positive mind and with reading all of you guys experiences I feel better. So thank you! If anyone else has any tips or advice that hasn’t been said I would greatly appreciate it!
January 9, 2016 at 6:39 pm
Hi Quyn, it’s good to hear that your surgery is coming up soon. It’s always nice to put this entire experience behind you, so as frightening as it may be, the sooner the better. Feel free to let us know the day before you go in for surgery and we’ll do our best to coach you through the first few weeks. 😊
January 1, 2016 at 8:13 pm
I just had double jaw surgery about 3 and a half weeks ago… I found it really helpful to get pediatric spoons. Since I couldn’t open my mouth really wide, the small size allowed me to fit it in my mouth. This allowed me to have mashed potatoes pretty early on in my recovery. As well, in the first couple of weeks I really relied on Gatorade for my intake of calories. I stuck with the lighter colored ones because I was worried about the dye in the drinks. The small bottles worked the best as I didn’t want to drink a lot at the same time and the opening wasn’t too big so that it wouldn’t dump all over me!
January 7, 2016 at 7:03 pm
Thanks for the tip, Haley! I can totally back you up on the approach to using baby spoons. Smaller is better when it comes to silverware during those initial few weeks. 😄
December 27, 2015 at 3:16 pm
Hey my biggest worry is you have mentioned in a few posts about wheezing and struggling to breathe? How bad is it? I’m getting double jaw surgery in a few weeks. And I’m afraid I will start to panic if I can’t breathe well also you never mention if the splint removal process was painful or not, ease get back to me this website you’ve created is awesome!!
December 27, 2015 at 8:45 pm
I had a double jaw surgery Nov 23 and have no issues with wheezing or struggling to breathe. I did purchase Breathe Right strips to wear the first few days but after the first week, my nose has been very clear. Besides an occasional sneeze, I have not had the urge to blow my nose. I also purchased simply saline spray to clear my nostrils, but only used it for the first week. I had my splint on for 10 days and it was painless to remove. Mine was wired to my upper braces and took about a minute to remove. I currently wear 2 orthodontic bands to help some of teeth to meet. My current issues are numbness (chin & lower lip), pins & needles and nerve pain; although these issues are pretty typical for this surgery. Good luck and you’ll do great.
December 8, 2015 at 5:14 pm
Even though this blog is in your distant past (even though it looks like you’ve been active on it recently?) I’m glad it exists. It’s answered an awful lot of questions, the timeline and must-have pages are invaluable, and in general this site’s inspired me to write daily (for a while at any rate) on my blog after my surgery on the 28th. Thanks.
December 10, 2015 at 8:06 am
Hey Derek, I’m happy to hear you found the site useful. Make sure you get your hands on a reliable blender and some meal replacements before heading in for the surgery — they will make the first few days of recovery a lot easier. Good luck!
December 10, 2015 at 1:37 pm
I’m having a last-supper party this weekend, inviting everyone to share their favorite smoothie recipes. We’re set. 😀
December 14, 2015 at 2:17 am
Yeah! this site rocks!! Thanks Graham!! Will be going for double jaw surgery on the 23rd this month =( Hope everything will be fine. doing the prep now.
December 14, 2015 at 6:48 am
Oooh, right before Christmas! It’ll be nice to have the holidays to heal up before resuming normal life in the new year. Good luck!