After Orthognathic Surgery

Helpful hints:
Medication : 30cc = 2 TBSP
Measurements: 5cc = 1 tsp


Apply ice to your surgical sites for 48 hours after surgery. Use the ice packs we have provided you or bags of frozen peas work well. After 48 hours discontinue ice and start with heat. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle or uncooked rice placed in a sock and heated in the microwave. Ice and heat should be applied at 20 minute intervals (off/on). Keep your head elevated for at least the first two (2) days. Extra pillows on your bed or a recliner will be the most comfortable.


If you go home with drains in your lower jaw, your care giver will need to empty the receptacles when they are full. The nurse will demonstrate prior to discharge. These drains will be removed the next day at your post-op appointment. Take a dose of pain medicine one (1) hour before your post-op appointment.

Hip Graft & Pain Pump

If you go home with a pain pump in your hip, the medication will automatically be administered by the pump. It may be refilled the next day at your post-operative appointment and you will be instructed on how to remove it. Keep the dressings dry and avoid tension on the tubing.


First 24 Hours: It is important to stay well hydrated. Cool clear liquids (water, Gatorade, apple juice, etc) usually work the best. Try to drink at least one quart of fluids the first day and then 2 quarts per day thereafter.

Subsequent Days: A liquid diet is important so as not to stress the titanium plates and screws. NO CHEWING PLEASE! You can have anything you want, as long as it looks like it came out of a blender. Your imagination & blender is the only limitation! High protein shakes, yogurt, instant breakfast and ice cream are popular options. It is helpful to eat at frequent (2 hour) intervals in order to get plenty of calories and protein.

After 3 Weeks: If approved by your oral surgeon, at three weeks, most patients can start a very soft, minimal chewing diet. Pasta, scrambled eggs, overcooked vegetables and soups work well.


Take medication as prescribed. If you experience nausea, try eating 30 minutes before you take your medication. If nausea persists, please contact the office. If you do vomit, lean forward and cut or pull off rubber bands if necessary.

Stay on top pain. The Potters Cocktail has a pain medication, anti-nausea medication and Tylenol. Do not take any additional Tylenol. The prescription must be hand-carried to the pharmacy because it is a narcotic; it cannot be called in. Call the office and pick it up before the weekend. Hirons pharmacy on 18th and Broadway Apothecary are familiar with mixing the elixir. Other pharmacies may or may not be able to fill this prescription; call your pharmacy for information.


This can be frustrating due to swelling, orthodontic appliances and rubber bands. Try to be patient and methodical. A small head, soft toothbrush works well. It is okay to brush right over any wired or rubber bands. Start your chlorhexidine (Peridex) rinse the first evening. Please DO NOT use a WaterPik or Sonicare for 3 weeks after surgery so as not to push any debris into your wounds. You will be able to brush inside your mouth during post-operative visits when the bands are changed.


Intraoral sutures will dissolve in 2 to 6 weeks. Sutures on the skin (facial & hip) will need to be removed 5 to 7 days after surgery.

Other Precautions

Call immediately if swelling, pain or redness develops in the back of your lower legs. This can indicate a blood clot. Wear your white TED stockings for the first few days after surgery and do foot pumps every hour while awake.

To prevent constipation, drink lots of fluids and try to maintain fiber in your diet.

Cough and breathe deeply every hour for the first several days after surgery.

Due to the medication given in the operating room, you may become tearful or sad around the third day after surgery. This is from the medicine wearing off and is normal.

Remember, you have just undergone a major surgical procedure and anesthetic. It will take about one week before your strength and stamina begin to return. Please understand this is normal and do not be surprised if you feel tired or sleep a lot during the first few weeks. Do try to increase your activity each day to prevent blood clots and pneumonia. Have someone with you when up walking; you may become weak or dizzy from the pain medicine.

As always, please call our office if you have any questions or concerns at 541-686-9750.