11. Surgery and Hospitalization
Surgery will typically take 2 hours for a single jaw surgery and 4 hours for two jaw surgery. It takes time for the anesthesiologist to safely put a patient to sleep and it takes time to wake up the patient. While the operating room staff will do their best to let the family know how surgery is progressing, the family is also encouraged to call into the operating room so as help reduce the anxiety.
After surgery, patients will be transferred to the recovery room and then to the hospital floor. Overnight monitoring involves: airway, bleeding, nausea/vomiting and pain/discomfort. We have never found the need to wire the jaw shut, and for most patients, there are no rubber bands (dental elastics) used to keep the jaws together. We also do not typically keep patients in dental splints. We feel it is important that the patient is as comfortable as possible after surgery. Patients should be able to open their mouth to breathe more comfortably, suction or ‘spit’ out any blood that may ‘drip’ in the back of the throat, be able to care for their mouth (oral rinses), begin to take fluids and eat soft diet and be able to take oral medications.
Most patients who have jaw surgery are discharged from the hospital the next day and recover more quickly at home.
In two decades of surgery, I have never felt it was necessary to wire the jaws shut. Our patients are more comfortable and recover more quickly.