Orthognathic Surgery

We have refined and perfected our corrective jaw surgery techniques so that our patients recover more efficiently and have less post-operative discomfort. We are constantly striving to improve our treatment methods to achieve better results, shorten recovery times, and provide a better patient experience.

-Dr. Holtzen

We are Knowledgeable and Compassionate

Orthognathic surgery has improved by leaps and bounds in recent decades, shortening hospital stays and greatly eliminating long and inconvenient recoveries. At the same time, the treatment model utilized by our oral and maxillofacial surgeon allows us to further improve upon these innovations.

From the moment you call our office to inquire about a jaw health issue, to the moment you leave your last follow-up appointment, our physicians, nurses, and staff are here to listen to your questions, care for your needs, make you comfortable, and ultimately help you feel and function better.

Types of Corrective Jaw Procedures

Corrective jaw surgery isn’t a single procedure done in the same manner to all patients with jaw issues. Instead, surgeons take on a wide variety of approaches and strategies to align the jaw, all dependent on the patient’s medical history, health conditions, and ideal outcome. For example, orthognathic surgery to fix a misaligned bite will be quite different from orthognathic surgery to treat a sleep apnea patient.

Common types of jaw surgery that we perform:

• Upper Jaw Surgery (Le Fort Osteotomy). The three types of Le Fort Osteotomy, Le Fort I, Le Fort II, and Le Fort III, all involve sectioning and realigning the upper jaw (maxilla) to improve the patient’s condition. These operations are often the treatment of choice for patients who suffer from cleft palate, an underdeveloped upper jaw (mid-face hypoplasia), or upper jaw fractures.

• Lower Jaw Surgery (Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy). In this procedure, the lower jaw (mandible) is sectioned and split before it is re-positioned to better align the teeth and jaw. In some cases, this involves moving the jaw bone backward, while in others it involves moving the bone forward.

• Sleep Apnea Surgery (Maxillomandibular Advancement). There is an innovative sleep apnea surgery that involves moving both the upper and lower jaw forward in order to widen the patient’s airway and make breathing at night easier. This surgery, called Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA), has a success rate of over 90 percent.

In all cases, we use state-of-the-art 3D imaging technology in order to better understand the exact position of our patient’s jaw as well as the very best way to correctly align the teeth and jaw. We refer to these images before, during, and after your operation.

Corrective Jaw Surgery: The Procedure & Results

While we offer several different types of jaw surgery, for a variety of health issues, the jaw surgery process is similar for all patients in a number of ways.

Below, learn about our treatment model and your recovery.

• Consultation & evaluation. During your initial visit, we will discuss your health complaint, review your medical history, discuss options for treatment, run tests, and outline our goals. In some cases, we may recommend non-invasive treatments for your health issues before recommending surgery.

• Destination Patients.Some patients travel to us from great distances to address their unique concerns. We are used to accommodating these situations and minimizing the inconveniences associated with travel through the following:

Gathering all necessary treatment planning data from your local doctor.

Performing the consultation, evaluation and most of the pre-surgery preparation remotely by phone and web-based meeting. This enables the patient to meet the doctor and fully understand the planned surgery before engaging in any travel.

Helping patients plan for travel, accommodations, and post-surgical care before, during, and after the surgery.

• Pre-surgery preparation: At Alpine Oral and Facial Surgery, we believe that the more planning that takes place before surgery, the better the outcome. In the case of corrective jaw surgery patients, we will take 3D images of their jaw and face so that we can simulate both the surgery and the predicted outcome with special software. We may also work in tandem with your orthodontist in case you will need to wear orthodontics for a period of time before your operation.

• Surgery: Your surgeon will discuss the specific steps of your surgery with you in detail. Your surgery and recovery will all take place in our state-of-the-art, accredited surgical facility – there is usually no need for a hospital stay. Your surgery will likely involve general anesthesia followed by the re-positioning of your jaw and facial bones. The surgery is performed using guides that have been fabricated by a computer to precisely reproduce the surgical plan, eliminating the human margin of error.

• Recovery: After your surgery, you will be brought into a second room to begin your recovery. Some patients may need to stay in a nearby skilled nursing facility overnight to be monitored, but a hospital stay is almost never needed. While you will feel absolutely nothing during the surgery itself, it is normal to feel sore and swollen for one to two weeks following the procedure. Many patients will need to follow a restricted diet for a period of time after their surgery while their re-positioned jaw heals. Your face and jaw will heal fully in about six months.

• Follow-up: Patients will need to meet with both their surgeon and their orthodontic professionals in the weeks and months following a procedure. These check-ups are so that your physician can evaluate your healing process and make sure that you have the best outcome possible. Your doctor will not only ask how you are healing, but will also verify whether the surgery is alleviating or eliminating your original health issue to determine whether you need any further treatment.

Are you an ideal candidate for corrective jaw surgery?

We are amazed at how orthognathic surgery can change lives. From someone who is struggling with chronic TMJ pain, to someone who has been involved in a car accident, to someone who was simply born with a misaligned jaw; we are committed to helping people acquire healthier, more comfortable lives.

Orthognathic FAQ’s

Orthognathic surgery, more commonly known as corrective jaw surgery, is a group of procedures conducted by oral and maxillofacial surgeons to correct abnormalities in the jaws and facial bones caused by injury, genetics, or disease. Corrective jaw surgery is done most commonly to correct problems with the growth of the facial bones. While there are many different types of orthognathic surgery, most procedures allow the surgeon to reposition the bones of the face and jaws to create ideal facial proportion and function.

Corrective jaw surgery is a common treatment for a number of mouth and facial health issues, including bite problems, TMJ disorders, breathing disorders, sleep apnea, and trauma.

Only you and your doctor can decide if you need orthognathic surgery. At Alpine Oral and Facial Surgery, we will closely and carefully evaluate your facial profile, your bite, your medical history, and your desired outcome. In some cases, we may begin your treatment with a less invasive solution, while in other cases it may be apparent that jaw surgery will be the best way to alleviate or solve your health condition.

Before your procedure, we will work with you and your insurance company to determine whether or not your surgery is covered by insurance and what percentage of the costs will be paid by your policy.

We treat many patients who have no insurance coverage for these procedures and we have all-inclusive cash fees to help these individuals plan and avoid surprises. We also offer several different financing options to help you achieve your desired outcome. Every case is unique. Contact us today to discuss your situation and we will help you create a pathway to achieve your goal.

All surgery has some associated risk. The more common unanticipated problems seen with corrective jaw surgery include infection, bleeding, or the need for further surgery to improve or adjust a result. Patients will frequently have a sensation of numbness or tingling in various areas of the face and mouth after surgery. This usually returns to normal as the swelling resolves, but occasionally patients will experience permanent changes in sensation.

This type of surgery always changes the shape and proportions of the patient’s face, most notably the profile of the nose, lips and chin. We plan the surgery to idealize these proportions.

Due to modern advancements in orthognathic surgery, patients will almost never need to have their jaws wired shut for any length of time after surgery. Instead, small plates and screws are used to keep your jaw in place after surgery.

Your recovery from jaw surgery depends on the type of jaw surgery you have, your medical history, and your age. Most patients need a one- to two-week recovery period and may need longer than that before feeling completely normal. Most of the swelling from surgery in gone in ten to fourteen days, though it usually takes six weeks until swelling goes down completely. Complete healing of your jaw bones may not occur for up to six months, and during this time, patients may need to follow a slightly modified diet.

Both before and after your surgery, we will discuss your recovery process in detail. During these discussions, we encourage any and all questions you might have.

Your orthodontic needs will be evaluated before surgery and in collaboration with your regular orthodontist. Because aligning your jaw correctly often involves preparing your teeth to be aligned, many of our patients require orthodontic treatment before and after surgery. How long you will need to wear braces varies from case to case. Speak with your orthodontist and your doctor to learn more about your options – and which steps will help you achieve the best outcome for you.

Corrective jaw surgery has a number of benefits, depending on the type of surgery and your reason for surgery. Corrective jaw surgery is most often done to improve the bite and enhance facial appearance. It may also be performed to treat jaw pain, chewing difficulties, breathing issues, obstructive sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, and swallowing difficulties. These procedures are always done with an eye toward idealizing facial balance and appearance.

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