September 3rd surgery follow-up

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September 3rd surgery follow-up

#1 Post by Baileysrv »

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to write and let everyone know how my September 3rd surgery went. I wrote prior to the surgery requesting help as to whether I should have surgery on both the upper and lower jaw (my surgeon gave me an option as to whether I would like the upper jaw surgery). I received a lot of very helpful responses. After quite a bit of reflection and nail biting, I decided to have surgery on both jaws.

Warning to those who are planning to have surgery, but have not undergone it yet -- my story may sound a bit scary, but, in the end, I am very glad that I did it. I encountered some post-op problems that are very rare (so my doctors tell me) -- so please don't be scared away from surgery by my experience. My primary purpose in writing is both cathartic and to let those out there know that even if your post-op experience is tough, it still can be very rewarding in the end.

The surgery itself was a bit more difficult than I expected. I had never had surgery for anything before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I was so nervous beforehand that they had trouble knocking me out. When I woke up, I was too groggy and nauseated to think much -- plus, I had a horrible stabbing feeling in my eye. It turns out my eye somehow got scratched! Wow, that type of thing hurts.

After I got to my room, I began throwing up blood. The nurses kept telling me to suck it out with some type of suction device, but I had no idea how to really do it. Apparently the blood from my upper sinuses was leaking down my throat and upsetting my stomach. Not fun. I also realized pretty quickly that I was allergic to morphine. The nurses would put it in, and a second later, everything would come up. Also not fun.
In total I spent three nights in the hospital -- one more night than I expected, likely because I seemed to be having such a difficult time.

When I got home, everything seemed to twirl, and for the next two weeks, I spent most of my time in bed extremely sick to my stomach. At the end of the second week, I began experiencing extreme pain in the right side of my jaw. Gradually, I began to swell up a bunch on this side. My parents rushed me to my surgeon's office, and they discovered I had infections on both the left and right sides of my lower jaw. They told me infections occur in less than 5 percent of cases, and that I'm an extremely rare case. Lucky me.

The surgeons ended up reopening the incisions and draining the infection. Halleluiah -- I've never had such extreme pain lifted in such a short amount of time! I still have the urge to hug my surgeon when I see him.

Well, for the next two weeks, I remained quite dizzy and nauseated. My surgeons seemed confused by this symptom, and I'm still not sure what really caused it. I'm in my fifth week now, and the nausea has finally gone away -- yay!!!! I still experience headaches and pressure in my sinuses, but I'm finally on the mend.

All and all, I'm very happy with the results of the surgery. My teeth now touch on both sides, and I'm able to close my lips much easier (if only I could feel them...). My chin remains a bit longer on one side than the other, but overall, it's a vast improvement. My mom tells me I'm the only one who notices the difference in length now -- probably because I'm so used to focusing on it. I've provided a before and after shot below.

Thanks again to everyone for your advice and support!!!


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#2 Post by FuzzyPants »


I was wondering how you are doing and what you decided to have done. A scratched eye? Allergic reaction? Infection? Ouch! I'm so sorry you had so many complications, but it seems you are finally on the mend now.

You look great. You must be so happy with the results. Are you able to eat now that the nausea is gone? Do you have a splint?

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#3 Post by Baileysrv »

Thanks for your kind words Fuzzypants and Meryaten. Now that the nausea is gone, I am starting to eat more. I found it especially difficult to eat anything sweet when I had the nausea, so now I'm tanking up on milkshakes! My surgeon ok'ed me to eat soft foods, but I'm still having difficulty opening my mouth and chewing. I actually don't have a splint. I hope the headaches start going away soon -- I think that will make everything, including eating, easier. :D
Last edited by Baileysrv on Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#4 Post by Steph-in-WI »

Wow, you are looking great for 5 weeks post-op! And your results are great, I am sure you are very pleased you did both the upper and lower. You are about a week ahead of me, I had surgery on Sept. 9th. I still have some residual swelling, and my smile is still quite awkward because it pulls on my stitches when I smile (I think that's what's going on, anyways, or maybe it is the swelling). Your smile really does look nice. It sounds like you have had some hurtles, but luckily nothing that couldn't be dealt with.

I am always amazed ... the upper jaw surgery usually tends to make peoples eyes look bigger and brighter in photos ... and your photos support that as well!
See my complete braces and jaw surgery story at



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#5 Post by Baileysrv »

Thanks Steph! I checked out your blog -- you're looking great!

Meryaten -- I did ask my surgeons about the headaches -- I thought it might be a sinus infection, but they seemed skeptical, as I'm not experiencing a lot of mucus (I know, yuck -- sorry) going down my throat. They didn't seem to know what else might be causing them. They seem to go hand in hand with the dizziness -- if I get a bad enough headache, I start to feel dizzy. They checked my blood count and found I was slightly anemic -- but not to the extreme that they thought it would cause headaches. Did you experience headaches as part of your surgery? Maybe it's just something I just have to bully through. Urgh. I just started back to school and work -- and I'm still really not feeling like myself. I hope it starts getting easier soon.

Thanks again to all!

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#6 Post by mannab271 »

you look FANTASTIC girl!!

Swelling looks great!Smile looks great!!! It's all downhill from where you are at!!

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#7 Post by iBorg »

Being actually on track for surgery, I find your post informative. It is important to realize that this will not be an easy experience. It is easy to look at your very positive results and ignore the reality that surgery does not guarantee automatic results nor is without risk. The recovery process is involved and varies for everyone.

I am glad that things are settling down for you.

I wore braces (this time) for 1294 days or 3 years, 6 months and 17 days.
But who's counting?
Jaw Surgery June 1, 2009
Thanks for praying for me and thinking happy thoughts.


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