What is Orthognathic Surgery?
Orthognathic surgery refers to jaw surgery. The word Orthognathic comes from a combination of two words. “Ortho” comes from the Greek word which means to straighten, while “gnathia” means jaws. Hence, Orthognathic surgery is a surgical procedure to align your upper and lower jaws to its optimal functional and aesthetic relationship.
Who needs it?
People who have jaw deformities. This may mean people with facial skeletal anomalies due to:
- jaw deviation resulting in facial asymmetry
- excessively short (hypoplastic) or long (hyperplastic) lower jaw. The lower jaw is also known as the mandible
- hypoplastic or hyperplastic upper jaw which is also known as the maxilla.
Why do orthognathic surgery?
People with jaw deformities may be predisposed to:
- issues with self-esteem and confidence
- obstructive sleep apnea (a potentially serious sleep disorder) (Create link to Obstructive Sleep Apnea article)
- speech difficulties
- traumatic palatal ulcerations
- eating difficulties
- lip trap
How is it done?
We start preoperative planning with a clinical examination. The surgeon will spend time taking measurements of your face and taking note of your unique facial characteristics. We then take moulds of your teeth to see how the teeth currently fit together. Necessary radiographic investigations will be carried out, all information incorporated, and the final, most functional and aesthetic position of your jaws will be planned with the latest digital software. Other blood tests, heart monitoring tests like ECG and chest x rays will be indicated to ensure that you are suitable for surgery.
Surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. During surgery, planned bone cuts are placed in the maxilla or mandible. Once that is done, the mobilized segments of your jaw can be placed into the optimum relationship. These segments are secured in its new position by titanium plates and screws. These plates and screws usually do not need to be removed.
After the surgery, you would normally stay in the hospital for 2-4 days. A special liquid diet will be prescribed for a period of 2 weeks. Thereafter, you will be able to start on a soft diet. Don’t worry if you lose some weight! Antibiotics, painkillers as well as other necessary medications will be prescribed.