Jason Erasmus - Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Christchurch, New Zealand

Known Risks and Complications

Known Risks and Complications

  1. Loss or alteration of nerve sensation, resulting in numbness or a tingling sensation in the face, jaw, teeth or tongue may occur as nerve fibers are regenerating and mending. During the healing phase you may experience the sensation of itching, warmth and a tingling over the effected areas. The change of sensation seldom remains for longer than 6 months. In a small percentage of cases the altered sensation may be permanent, particularly in the lower jaw.
  2. Infection is a potential risk following any surgical procedure, and if an infection does occur it is usually treated with antibiotics. If swelling reappears in the first 2-6 weeks following surgery, combined with fever and pain or pus develops, contact your surgeon immediately.
  3. Sinus complications, such as pain and or a postnasal drainage may occur in some cases following upper jaw surgery. Sinusitis symptoms should be reported to your surgeon.
  4. Injuries to adjacent teeth and roots, fillings or bridgework can occur during orthognathic surgery which may require appropriate dental treatment.
  5. TMJ (the joint of the jaw) pain or limited range of movement may occur following orthognathic surgery. This can impair chewing or speech function and may need physical exercises to improve the condition.
  6. Relapse of the jaw position or unexpected shifting of the jaw structure is uncommon but can occur. This complication may demand surgery for correction.
  7. Excessive post operative bleeding very seldom occurs however any post operative bleeding, longer than 20 minutes, especially following upper jaw surgery, should immediately be reported to the surgeon.

FOLLOW-UP CARE: After the completion of your treatment, your orthodontist and surgeon will want to see you periodically to monitor you and to ensure that your teeth and jaws are staying properly aligned. You should maintain your oral health and visit your family dentist regularly.