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Potential Risks and Complications Associated with Surgery

As with any type of surgical treatment, certain risks must be considered and these should be weighed against the potential benefits. We would not recommend an operation to you if we did not feel strongly that the benefits far outweigh any risks associated with surgery. However, it is important for you to understand that the risks associated with orthognathic surgery may include the following:

Side effects of any surgical procedure
These actually are not risks but side effects usually associated with any type of surgery:

  • Discomfort/postoperative pain as a result of the surgery itself.
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding. Since most jaw surgery is performed through incisions inside the mouth, it is impossible to put a dressing over this area. After surgery some bleeding occurs, just as when teeth are taken out.

Infections with jaw surgery
Infections are rare, generally easy to treat, and usually resolved quickly. However, infection may result in more severe consequences such as improper healing and the need for further surgery.

Damage to normal structures such as gum, tissue, bone, or teeth
Again, this type of problem is extremely rare.

Numbness or decreased sensation
Because jaw surgery is performed on bones of the face, bruising of the nerves within the bone sometimes results in some decreased feeling in certain parts of the face.. In the case of upper jaw surgery this usually occurs around the nose and upper lip. In lower jaw surgery this occurs around the lower lip and chin. While this may feel strange in the immediate post operative period, this numbness also helps decrease the amount of pain which you will feel after surgery. This altered feeling is usually temporary. However, in a few patients there may be some permanent loss of feeling.

Risks associated with anesthesia
General anesthesia is very safe particularly in elective surgery cases such as orthognathic surgery. The anesthesiologist will discuss all aspects of your anesthetic care prior to your surgery.

 

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