Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Final Thoughts


The surgery and recovery was tough, but I would definitely do it all again.  Actually, I felt that many of my fears were unfounded and knowing what I know now, I recommend anyone thinking about it to go for it!  The results will last a lifetime; the pain and the discomfort are only a small part of it all.

Summary of changes: My maxilla (upper jaw) was impacted 7 mm and advanced 1 mm.  Four plates were installed in my upper jaw.  This eliminated my gummy smile, lip incompetance and stopped the mentalis strain when my lips were together. I now keep my mouth closed at rest. I sleep with my mouth closed reducing the likelihood of sleep apnea. The upper jaw impaction allowed my lower jaw to swing up and forward, giving me a nice chin.  It is a bit softer but is more femine than having a chin advancement.  The upper jaw advancement gave more support to my upper lip (I have a visible upper lip now!)  No botox for me. Dental/bite related, my open bite and class II were corrected.  My front teeth now can bite into things like lettuce! 
 





Side Profile (Before and After)
 
 
Front view lips at rest (Before and After)

Big smile (Before and After)

Feel free to leave feedback/comments.  I am always open to helping others through the decision to undergo orthognathic surgery and their recovery. 

33 comments:

  1. I can't thank you enough for both of your blogs!!! I am having a 3 piece LeFort, septioplasty and turbinade reduction and I've been unable to find much on the web by people with the same experience. Your posts are extremely helpful! It seems that my oral surgeon plans to do the ENT work himself, and at the same time as the surgery, which causes me concern after reading your posts. Do you think I should push for a separate doctor/surgery date? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!!!

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad that my blogs have been helpful. If your surgeon feels comfortable in doing all the things at once, then I think that's great. For a while my two surgeons were discussing the same kind of thing but decided that it just wasn't going to work in my case. I have heard of cases where they go in for a Lefort and also do septoplasty/turbinate reduction. No worries! Please let me know if you have additional questions during your surgery journey. I always have time to answer!

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    2. Hi,I m planning to have upper jaw surgery to reduce my gummy smile. Doctor told only 1 jaw surgery is required for me. So I have few questions regarding gummy smile upper jaw reduction. How long it ll take to completely cure if I had only 1 jaw surgery (upper jaw reduction). Does swelling will be too much? And any complications in this surgery in long run?? Sorry for too many questions. I m really scared even after reading so many blogs and positive experiences.:(

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  2. hi
    did u have tmj symtoms before surgery?
    i have a crossbite since forever and now an openbite i have tmj on my right side well all my popping,clicking,facial pain and headaches are on my right side sooo i had my first cinsult with an ortho she thinks i should do braces for 24/30 months possible upper wident jaw surgery i was reading your blog but didnt see if u had tmj symptoms before surgery
    judy

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  3. I had clicking and popping on both sides. I also had joint degeneration, mild on one side, moderate on the other. I was told that because of my long face, the joint wasnt working properly and every time I chew, I'm just grinding down the joint. With the surgery, my joint should work more normally. Thanks for asking Judy! Best of luck!

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  4. I haven't decided if I would go through the surgery again. I'm 13 days post op and still trying to figure out what the hell is going on with my nerves. They make me feel really cold and when I'm outside in the morning....brr...it hurts!

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    1. Give it time and be patient. I had an annoying numb spot on my lip for over 6 weeks.

      Patience in the key in analyzing whether you are happy with your results or not. Keep in mind swelling and numbness may not go away for months!

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is big help for us especially for me having jaw pain it gives me more power how to overcome will,again thank you so much!

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    1. Edward, I am glad this helps. I wish you all the best in your continued recovery. I am so sorry to hear you still have jaw pain. Obviously everyone's healing is different but I think no matter what, having a positive attitude is key to a good recovery and being happy with the result. Keep in touch and let me know if there are any questions I can answer in the future! Best of luck!

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  6. Just found your blog.
    Just curious if I read it correctly that you didn't have your lower jaw done at all?
    Did they say what your airway was before and after?

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    1. Hi Nicole,
      I did not end up having my lower jaw done at all. I also did not get a measurement before/after for my airway. I have not had any records other than a panoramic x-ray post op. I am still in active treatment with braces, so I would guess I will probably have more x-rays when I'm done. The ENT said my lower jaw was being pushed rearward by my downward growing upper jaw and when that was brought up, my lower jaw would swing forward and alleviate some of my airway issues. I no longer sleep with my mouth open which is a great sign that my nasal airway is doing its thing properly.

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  7. Wow.. That is so encouraging that your not sleeping with your mouth open anymore. If you go back to surgeon for follow up can you ask him how big your airway is behind your jaws? I think normal/ ideal is around 12 mm
    Did they do anything to your nose to help breathing? Such as turbinate reduction?

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    1. I had a septoplasty with turibinate reduction before having jaw surgery. My ENT wouldn't let me have jaw surgery without first getting my nose fixed. I documented it on a seperate blog but there wasn't much to see externally. I don't see the ENT anymore so I probably won't get an airway analysis again. I don't really want to spend extra money to get a CT scan just so I can measure a number. It's not like I'm going to have this sugery again if I don't like the number I'm told. I feel I can breathe better and I think that's the most important thing. http://deviatedseptumsurgeryblog.blogspot.com/

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  8. Hi Becky,
    I've just stumbled across your blog whilst doing research on jaw surgery and it's the most helpful information i've found so far! I was just wondering what type of braces you had? I'm 26 and really conscious of having braces for the next two years at this age. Do you know if you can get the surgery done with lingual braces?
    Thanks!
    Sarah

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    1. Hi Sarah! I had incognito lingual braces. For the pre-surgery treatment, nobody knew I was wearing braces because everything was inside my teeth. For the surgery, they needed to put brackets on the outside of every tooth. It basically remained that way through the end of my orthodontic treatment. They needed so many rubber bands to correct my bite that I had brackets on every tooth which was highly visible. Looking back, I might reccomend just going with the clear brackets because they are cheaper than lingual and really aren't that visible anyways. Best of luck! Let me know if you have more questions as you proceed on your journey!

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  9. This blog is absolutely amazing, thank you so much for doing all this work on top of your daily life. I have a similar facial structure to you and I'm having a consult Tuesday. Its also nice to see someone who's done all this at 20something, the social stigma of going through braces again at 24 is definitely getting to me, and unfortunately lingual won't be an option.

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    1. Sorry it took me so long to respond. I wish you all the best. It really isn't that bad to be 20 something and doing this. I can't image trying this later in life (with kids or in my 40's or 50's). It takes a lot out of you for the recovery but is so worth it! Good luck and feel free to contact me with further questions about anything surgery or braces related.

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  10. I'll be honest to you - you do look better in the after, because your gummy smile and vertical maxillary excess is gone. But you had problems on not only the vertical axis but also the sagittal axis. Your lower jaw is too recessed. You should have gotten a proper bilateral sagittal split osteotomy / BSSO. Now it looks like a bad compromise. Your genioplasty improved things somewhat but it is still very visible. Additionally, I also think your upper jaw is not really good positioned. Your philtrum is very flat and lacks anterior projection. Maybe they should have counterclockwise rotated the maxilla.

    Who was your surgeon? What was the thought process behind only fixing one of your two issues? I don't get it.

    Best wishes

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    1. That is very mean and besides if you are going to give your opinion at least get your facts straight, she clearly stated that she did not have a chin advancement. Her functional issues that she experienced prior to surgery have been rectified so that is the most important thing.

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  11. I think your results are great! I too have a bit of a softer profile and my orthodontist says I need double jaw surgery but I think it's going to be the same case as you with it being such a small move of the jaw. Don't let anyone tell you there is anything wrong with a soft profile!!!! <3

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    1. Thanks! You are really sweet! I wish you all the best and I hope that you will come to me if you need any questions or reassurance. It is a difficult process and not without tons of self doubt and worrying.

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  12. I actually had double jaw surgery (no genio though) and I'm a little on the soft side too. :) At first I was mildly disappointed it didn't turn out stronger. On some level I was hoping I'd wind up with something a bit like you see on greek statues, but now I find it really beautiful. I never used to love my profile, and now I do. The softer look suits me. It suits you too. I think you look quite elegant, actually. We didn't set out to look like different people when we went under the knife, it's silly for anyone to expect otherwise.

    Lots of luck with the rest of your healing!

    Oh, isn't sleeping with your mouth closed magical?!

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    1. Thank you for the kind thoughts and shared experiences! I totally agree that I was not on a mission to look like someone else, and that was part of my reasoning behind leaving it up to the doctor and his judgement.

      I sleep so well now! I love not waking up with dry mouth! Wishing you the best.

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  13. Your surgeon made a very good decision, lower jaw surgery carries a greater risk of nerve damage , the surgeon involved in your treatment got a great result and in the process eliminated some of the risks involved . I have exactly the same profile as you did prior to your surgery and over the years all my consultations came back with the same conclusion double jaw surgery and one who stated a tri max was required. I could not justify undergoing such a journey when my only issue was strain in the chin area when my lips were closed. I would have definitely undergone the process if they had offered to do just the upper jaw .

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    1. Katie, thank you too for your supportive comments and sharing your experience. I have to say the upper jaw only was a pretty quick recovery compared to some of the stories I've heard from double jaw surgery. I recognized from the beginning that "perfection" isn't always possible and I already had some things going against me. I hope that my attitude that I am now the best "me" I can be will inspire others to try to see the same in their own results. It's not about looking like a model, but bringing out the best of yourself. Sometimes things departing from the "norm" are what make people even more beautiful.

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  14. Hi there, I had Lefort osteotomy (upper jaw surgery) to fix my "gummy smile/lip incompetence" 8 weeks ago. I was shortened vertically by 7mms. I still however cannot close my lips without having mentalis strain. I wanted to know if it took awhile for you to have natural and comfortable lip closure or if it took awhile. My surgeon told me that when I get the braces off, I will notice a difference. Also did you have a tight upper lip after surgery? I feel like when I talk that I have a lot of tightness still 8 weeks later. By the way you look great!

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    1. It did take a while for the "final" profile to really set in. Looking back at pictures from even 6 weeks out, I think my final result looks very different. It is very possible that bulky braces are affecting your ability to close your lips and that will get better when you are completely done. My lip was really stiff feeling, even at a few months, but I decided to start doing smile exercises after getting the braces off, making as big of a smile as possible repeatedly and the stiffness has gone away! sometimes you just need to exercise those muscles. Give it time, I'm sure your results will turn out great. Thanks for posting.

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  15. Hi Becky,

    Not sure if this is appropriate to ask, but I am going for a consultation with the same issues and basically a male version of your face haha. I have no idea on costs could you give me an idea as to what you paid?

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    1. Hi. Check out my post on surgery costs, just below this final profile post. The surgeon costs about $10,000 ($5,000) for each jaw. But you should ask your surgeon for a quote so you know what to expect if insurance falls through. Best of luck! I know you will look great in the end! It's worth it.

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  16. hey Becky my name is Gian! I had upper jaw surgery 4 years ago for an open bite and had similar results and also similar circumstances. you look great! I was also interested in TADs at first because the thought of surgery scared me, but i was guided towards having upper jaw surgery. you had great results! i am in a period of reflection and your blog post interested me because you were in the same position with similar options. i would like to discuss our experiences! if you're interested, please email me at dovidiostore@gmail.com

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  17. hey Becky my name is Gian! I had upper jaw surgery 4 years ago for an open bite and had similar results and also similar circumstances. you look great! I was also interested in TADs at first because the thought of surgery scared me, but i was guided towards having upper jaw surgery. you had great results! i am in a period of reflection and your blog post interested me because you were in the same position with similar options. i would like to discuss our experiences! if you're interested, please email me at dovidiostore@gmail.com

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  18. Hey Becky ! My name is rosa and i was just wondering around the internet looking for answers and topics relatibg to what i look like . No one close to me or that i've seen that had surgery before and i was just so happy to see that you've expirienced the same problem and had the courage to go foward with the sugery. I was just wondering if its really painfull and if theres any advice you can give me .

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