Asian Double Jaw Surgery (underbite & crossbite)

∼January 25, 2015∼


 Hello!

I have decided to repost my entry about my jaw surgery experience. So if you have stumbled across my blog to read about my jaw surgery then it's here. I see an interest in my previous entry about my jaw surgery journey and several people have contacted me on FB and e-mail so I thought it would be easier to post it again, but this time I will leave the comment section open. So please don't hesitate to use the comments section.

I initially took the entry down because my hits/traffic was increasing day by day so I felt a bit overwhelmed. I was worried that my acquaintances might discover my secret blog, but seeing as people write to me on FB to hear about my jaw surgery - I figured I would re-post it again.

I want to share my experience with fellow Asians knowing that all races look different and have different features and therefor we have different concerns.

I had 「Jaw surgery on the 17th August 2011」and as of now I look like the picture above ↑↑↑
It is taken a couple of days ago - making it almost 4 years post-op.

Relapse

If you don't know: I had an relapse meaning I am wearing braces again/undergoing jaw surgery again because I had a slight spur in growth in my lower jaw. This time they will only operate on my upper jaw. You can read more about those details here. But in short: I still had growth in my lower jaw, my upper jaw retracted and I have a habit of tongue thrusting(you can see my silly tongue in the last picture 2-years post-op).

Before and after pictures

Note: Please do not write in my picture album, but comment in this entry. 
If you don't want to read the whole post and just look at my pictures - then click here. For more before pictures - see my instagram.
I previously replied in the album, but I'd rather gather everything here so don't expect a reply if you write in there.


Story of my jaw surgery

Short version about the day of the operation

Early morning and I had fasted from the night before to my surgery @ 6:45. I had my sister and mother with me, but they weren't allowed to go with me to the surgery room. @ 7:40 I was transferred to OR. Before surgery my surgeon told me that they might do a genioplasty where they move the chin so it looks more proportionate with my profile. Luckily they didn't.

@ 8:07 I was put under anesthesia. I remember laying the room and remember being relaxed, but the moment that they started to make me go to sleep. I started to panic. They told me to count to ten and I remember I was silently crying because my eyes were trickling with tears, but I did as I was told and counted: "one, two, three, four..."

I woke up very dizzy; everything was blurry. I was slightly hallucinating and I just started to cry. The feelings I had before the surgery was still there and it just felt like my emotions were put on a pause because I could not feel the four hours which had passed during the surgery. It was 12 o'clock and I was still disorientated so they kept me longer in the intensive where I then was transferred to my hospital bed when I was better. I felt like absolute shit. The surgery was tough and I was so swollen when I woke up. Nothing hurt and the surgery went really well.

Remember I said that I was crying? Yeah, I was crying uncontrollably for no reason. When I was transferred to my room, I glanced over at the mirror and I could just feel the tears trickling down tears even more than before. I couldn't recognize the girl I saw in mirror. I was just very emotional (and to this day, I still am. Maybe a side effect from the anesthesia?). It was a odd feeling. Feeling like no time had passed, but you look in the mirror and it's a completely different person you see.

My mom and sister came after a while and I could just see in their faces that they did not know what to say or do. Maybe chuckle a bit because I looked so swollen, but they were nervous because I looked completely different. I was supposed to have visitors, but I remember that I refused to have any one. I was an emotional mess. Physically I was fine, but inside me I was tearing walls.

I stayed in the hospital for a day. I remember walking around with no appetite, but I drank water and I figured that it would be most healthy to eat something. So I had a protein shake. Bad idea because it made me puke all the blood I had accumulated during the surgery. I was so afraid because I just had surgery and my mouth was wired, but I just had to puke. I quickly asked for help and I just remember holding that bag of warm blood in my hands. I did however feel a lot better after puking so that's good. After that experience I only drank water and soda.

The night was horrible long. I slept; went to bathroom; drank and that pattern continued.
I was also heavy on pills, penicillin and fluid.


Recovery

The first week was the toughest days ever. I puked all the time. I was on a liquid diet and I was also taking a bunch of pills which just made me sick in my stomach. It didn't matter what I was drinking/eating - everything would not stay.

It was scary and excruciating those first couple of days, but after that things can only get better.

The surgery is not a piece of cake. Sometimes I look back and think: "Oh well, it was quite an easy recovery right? You made it through." but there were some very scary memories about the recovery that I seem to have blocked. However; when I compare my experience with others - I feel lucky.

In terms of the speed of my recovery. After ten weeks, I was able to eat more normally and I was healing very well. Two months after I got my braces off.


Bruising/swelling

Very minimal bruising on my face, but lots of bruises on my neck. It wasn't that noticeable
The swelling was very apparent though and most of it is gone the first months or two.

Everything should have settled by the fifth month or so, but expect at least a year before all the swelling has gone down. I look very different 3 months post-op and now.

You need to give it some time!


Am I happy? 

Yes. In the beginning - not so much. I regret doing it in the beginning. I couldn't get used to my new face. It was very strange to see another person in the mirror because I was so used to seeing someone else.

Now? After the swelling subdued and the face muscles started to work properly and I could smile normally; well, it was all worth it! Even though I had a relapse I am still very happy. I just need to fix the functionality of my bite but face-wise - I am very pleased. I guess it's a procedure which I had done for functional and cosmetic reasons.

 F.A.Q

How old were you during the surgery?
Newly 18 years old. 
I had a relapse as previously written and it was because I still had some growth in my lower jaw and the upper jaw was moved quite a bit, so it has a tendency to relapse slightly. Also another factor is that I have an issue with tongue thrusting. If I had to do it again - I would again my orthodontist to let me wear my braces for a longer time after surgery just so the bones and teeth can stabilize properly.

How did you pay for it?

In Denmark - it's covered by the state. It affects my abilities to chew and therefor it affects my general and social health.
Meaning = it's free.

What did your parents/family say about your surgery?
This is more an Asian thing. In the beginning they told me that I didn't need to fix it because I was charming they way looked. If it ain't broken, why fix it right? Why go through breaking the jaw up in pieces and all that? They were never unsupportive of my decisions to do the surgery. They were just worried because of the complications that might happen.

I told them that I had issues with eating. I could only eat with the back of my teeth and I was just generally bothered by the way I looked. Not extremely bothered, but self-conscious whenever people would look at my profile. So it did affect my health but also my social health. I was mentally sad that I felt so insecure in my own skin. I was a pretty little girl when I grew up; I was a talkative and sassy girl - I was quite the bossy type, but funny how things change because your looks change. 

I told my family that and they understood and supported me. When I got my surgery and I was still very swollen, my uncle came to me and said: "that's how I remember your face when you were little." and he snapped a picture on his dumb phone. I remember being so happy because the me now is the me I was all along.

What kind of surgery was it?
I had an underbite(= class three) and crossbite before.
The surgery used was a double jaw surgery = sagital split; the lower jaw is moved back and a Lefort I; the upper jaw is moved forward and they also moved my upper jaw slightly up to lessen gummy smile.

Did it hurt?
No, it did not hurt. I was on medication and my surgeons(names I do not know) are very skilled.

Did your nose widen?
Maybe? I don't know. Maybe slightly at the base, but it's still worth it. Nothing that I worry about now. You can see that my nose is not perfect, but I'd rather have a harmonious face than worry about my nose.

What did I eat during the surgery?
In the beginning I blended my food with added milk, but that was horrible. I ended up eating rice porridge which I could just shallow and it was very tasty. Next time I will be doing the same, but also drink protein shakes to maintain my weight. I lost around 5 kg but I gained everything back when I started eating regularly plus more.

When were you able to eat again?
After ten weeks with soft food and chewing.

Were your jaws shut after surgery?
After surgery I did not wear splint, but I had to wear elastics.


End notes

I wish you all good luck if you're undergoing the surgery.
I am very happy to hear that I can help and give courage to other people through my story.
Have faith and patience in the process. It's not just something you do. It takes time.

You are always welcome to contact me here or over facebook.
Other links include instagram | webalbum.
xx Sally
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