Tuesday, March 26, 2013



How do I find a good surgeon?
First of all, if you picked a good orthodontist he/she should run in circles with good surgeons and can recommend some to you.  I feel uneasy about people who work with ONLY one surgeon.  Choices are always good, remembering that fixing teeth and jaws are both an art and science. I researched all of my doctors and picked them off the DC top doctors lists. My surgeon had the highest level of education/certification at his practice and had multiple prestigious appointments related to the field. If you don’t have access to these kinds of information, ask for before/after pictures of similar cases and understand how many jaw surgeries the doctor perform in a year.  If they only do a handful per year, they might not be so great.

 I’m uncertain about surgery but am going in for a consultation, advice?
Make a list of concerns and questions.  I had a one page list and he went one by one down the list and answered everything!  It made me feel much better.

Will there be external scars?
For my case, no.  If I had the BSSO with this doctor, yes, but I have heard of other doctors that do all incisions inside the mouth.  Ask beforehand so you know what to expect.

What about the risks of numbness?
I regained all feeling by 4 months. The numb fat lip can be very annoying but tends to go away with time.  I asked about facial paralysis or interference with nerves and this is not a concern for jaw surgery.  I hear a lot of people rejecting the surgery just because of the chance of numbness. Honestly, numbness doesn’t actually do any harm to you.  You can still function normally, it just feels tingly.  Be grateful none of the side effects from this surgery are truly negatively life changing like losing a limb or range of motion or inability to eat or talk ever again.  There are many worse things than a tingly lip!


How long will I stay in the hospital?
Depends on your surgeon, I was scheduled for 23 hour outpatient surgery.  I left long before the 23 hours.  Once stable and able to walk around, there is no need to be in a hospital racking up charges and exposed to disease.

What items should I bring to the hospital?
Yourself in loose clothes, an ID card, insurance card and form of payment. My family accidentally took all my clothes and stuff when they went home during the night, you don’t need it.  The hospital gives you all the medicine and care items you need and when you feel good enough to need magazines or stuff, you should be going home anyways.

I’m afraid of anesthesia and associated risks; I don’t want to have surgery.
Serious risks associated with anesthesia are rare and typically happen to people who have other conditions. That is why you go through a physical 7 days before to ensure you’re healthy enough for surgery and recovery. The anesthesiologist is a specialized doctor (yes, PhD.) whose sole job is to make sure you are fine throughout the procedure.

Will there be a catheter during/after surgery?
Maybe, but you can have a catheter for any major surgery.  This should not be a deterrent for having surgery. And from experience, it’s not bad at all.

What kind of pain will I be in?
I had absolutely no pain. Some people will probably have pain. Ask beforehand, but most people get the self-serving painkillers where you press the button when you need it. I recommend only using if you need it. Sometimes the side effects from the painkillers can make you feel sicker and delay your recovery worse than if you go without. My experience on many surgeries/teeth procedures.

What happens if you need to throw up?
Luckily, I did not feel nauseated. If you do, you can just lean over and the liquid should come out.  Since you’re only eating liquid, nothing should have trouble coming out when banded shut. The doctor gave me plenty of anti-nausea medicine in case I needed it. Don’t forget, narcotics taken on an empty stomach can cause nausea. If you are choking, you can use your safety scissors to cut yourself open, but then you’ll have to go see the doctor immediately to get rebanded.

Recovery/Resuming life

I can’t breathe, what do I do?
First of all, religiously use the Afrin nose spray the first few days to keep the nasal swelling down. Get a humidifier and point it at your nose even when sleeping, which tends to be when I got the most congested. Rinse with saline solution often, even every hour if necessary to keep things clear.  Take showers or just sit in the bathroom with the shower going to open up the nose.  It gets better after a few days.  I promise.

When I will be able to go back to work/school?
I’d give it at least two weeks. I was ready to go back at two weeks but waited an extra week because nobody could understand me with the splint.  The first week, you absolutely need to focus on resting and eating.  I also wouldn’t want to risk being out with sick people and catching a cold or flu on top of the recovery you’re already going through.

If I'm not eating any real food, what about "going to the bathroom"?
If you take painkillers, you might be "stuffed up" for a while.  Turns out that juice and soup contains a good amount of particles so I still went normally but it was "looser" than normal.  If you have diareaha, take some medicine for it.  Something probably upset your stomach.  Take extra fiber if it becomes a concern.

My caretaker can only take off the day of the surgery.  How will I take care of myself?
You will probably need some help for the first week just because you don't have energy.  I reccomend making soups/smoothies before your surgery and freezing them if you don't have a helper.  I also reccomend freezing some food into ice cube trays.  This way you can pull out just a few cubes for one portion of a meal.  Liquid foods only last about 48 hours in the fridge so be wise with labeling/keeping track of when you made the meals. 


Name your liquid diet food essentials.

Tomato soup

French Onion soup

Instant mashed potatoes (doesn't have lumps regular potatoes do!)

Canned gravy

Baby oatmeal/ cream of wheat

Fruits for the juicer (melons, apples, oranges, tangerines)

Heavy cream and shredded cheese (for adding to soups)

Drinkable yogurt pro-biotic (Kefir)



  1. Hi Becky -- great blog! I live here in DC as well, and I will be having Double Jaw Surgery in the next year or so...who was your surgeon?

    1. Hi there! Best of luck with everything. I went with Dr. Ramsey of Fairfax Oral and Maxilofacial Associates in Fairfax VA. They work at the Fair Oaks Hospital which is a great place. Be sure to consider both whether your surgeon and your hospital are in-network. I was willing to pay the DR out of network with the knowledge that my hospital bill would be in-network at a hospital I trusted to give me the best care.