I don’t mind if I’m incomprehensible

Posts Tagged ‘orthognathic surgery


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It has been more than six months since my surgery.  Here’s an update, with photos and grammatical errors.

Six weeks post-op.

Pretty much everything I read before the surgery said that I will be able to eat after six weeks.  Naturally I was pretty excited when I reached six weeks post-op, and then I was equally disappointed.  I tried but I couldn’t really eat.  My mouth didn’t open very wide, I couldn’t move the food once I got some in my mouth, and I couldn’t feel what the hell my teeth were doing.  Oh well!

Three months post-op.

Not that different from the photo above.  Although it was nice to kind of have my chin back.  (That’s my “good side” of course!)

My forehead and the tip of my nose always have been fairly oily, but during the healing process my entire face became extremely oily–something about healing nerves.  I considered applying for an OPEC membership.

Also, using a sonicare toothbrush on a mouth full of healing nerves is the most ticklish thing ever.  Srsly.

Six months post-op.

Ok, I don’t know what’s with the this picture. I look like I was high or been hypnotized or something.

Six months post-op. My less-good side.

(Thanks to Joe for taking these photos.)

Ok, X-rays…

That’s a month before the surgery, after about two years of braces, of which you can see in the picture.

That’s after, without the braces.  That shiny stuff are my fillings.  Notice all that stuff holding my upper jaw.  The effect is slightly exaggerated compared to the before picture because I was looking down a little more in the after picture.

You can see the screws for lower jaw better here.

As for the results, I don’t have an underbite anymore, but my bite still isn’t great.  My molar aren’t touching when I bite together, so while I can bite I can’t grind my food.  My orthodontist said I should wait a year before I should do anything about that because my bite could still change.

My lips still feel numb and a little stiff, especially the upper.  Occasionally I still get muscle spasms, which make my teeth clank together.  Not particularly painful, but annoying nonetheless.  I had a burger yesterday and I was just barely able to open my mouth wide enough for it.

Anyway, enough bawwwing.  The healing process could take up to a year.  I’ll post some before-and-after pictures then.


Written by Barry

May 10, 2009 at 11:41 pm

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Post-op Photos

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I peeked at my files while I was waiting during a post-op appointment; the surgeon’s plan was to move my upper jaw forward roughly 3mm and down 2mm (apparently my upper teeth had a bit of an angle) and my lower jaw back roughly 3mm.

one day post-op
One day post-op.

A few people asked me about being in pain. There wasn’t much pain. The post-op experience is more pain in the ass than painful.

Imagine all the things you can do with your facial muscles. Well, now you can’t. You basically have no control of anything on your face below your eyes. (It would be totally fucked up if you lost control of your eyelids no?) Can’t smile. (It hurts to watch The Daily Show and Colbert Report.) Can’t spit. (You’ll miss this very much when you cough up stuff behind your banded teeth and after rinsing your mouth with stuff.) Can’t suck. (Some people brought up drinking through a straw when they learn of my surgery. I wish; milkshakes would’ve been very nice.) And so on. Oh, your face is also the size of Jupiter. And for about a week you’re constantly drooling, which is extremely inconvenient. And for a day you can’t breathe through your nose at all.

So there you are, standing over the sink, drooling out of the front of your mouth, sucking air through the back of it, and then you’d try to drink your meds and food without losing a quarter of it to the sink.

There’s more, but of course everything improved gradually. Very gradually. (Parentheses!)

Four days post-op.

Note the yellow bruising on my face and neck.  It didn’t stop there…

Six days post-op MySpace foto 5tyle.

It got even wider and moved slightly lower after that picture was taken. I still have a couple of spots on my chest after almost four weeks.

One week post-op.

12 days post-op.

Two weeks post-op.

Finally told my sister that we want to see the changes on my face, not the wall or my torso. In other words: zoom in plz.

When Joe and Sam got their kittens, I put up a picture of them with me. Now that they’ve got a child…

Barry: 20 days post-op. Penelope: 0 day post-birth.

Lil’ Penny: Uncle Barry, what the hell was wrong with your face?
Barry: Where the hell did you learn to talk like that? I know your parents don’t speak like that.

At any rate, when I score the x-rays, I’ll put them up.

Written by Barry

November 24, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Backwards, Forwards

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New York, New York

I was going to post a few photos and say some silly nonsense about my six day trip to NYC. But then I got lazy and busy. Now the appropriate window for a post-trip entry clearly has passed. And I’ve got something more important to tell my nine regular readers.

So just one protip if you are going to visit New York (and you should): go to the observatory at the Rockefeller Center, “Top of The Rock”, if you want to see Manhattan from above. Do not go to the observatory at the Empire State Building.


On October 28th I will be getting orthognathic surgery to correct my epic underbite. My former, now retired, orthodontist said my underbite was the worst he has seen. I’ve been wearing braces for two years now; it’s about fucking time.

The surgery basically involves cutting and moving my upper jaw forward and the lower jaw backward. My case is too severe to move only the lower jaw back.

For those of you who are interested, the two procedures are called Le Fort I Osteotomy (upper) and Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy (lower).  For the lower jaw there is also the Intraoral Vertical Ramus Osteotomy.  Although I haven’t asked my surgeon why he chose BSSO over IVRO.


This is what I really want to tell my readers: I will look different.  Mainly because someone will move parts of my face.

I don’t know how different.  After my sister’s surgery (only the lower jaw since her case wasn’t as severe), our uncle and the people at her orthodontist’s office thought she looked unrecognizably different.  I didn’t think she looked that different.  Her face was shorter and her cheeks got bigger.  But unrecognizable?  Nah.

I will also have titanium in my face.  How awesome is that?  (Very.)

Good News

My sister’s jaws were wired shut, and she was on a liquid diet for six weeks.  Since it’s difficult to sustain one’s weight on a strictly liquid diet (especially when it can be painful or tiring just to drink), she started losing weight and her body went into preservation mode and slowed down her metabolism.  When she started eating again, she quickly gain too much weight because of the slowed metabolism.  After she told me all that, I simply said “no, I’m not going to gain weight.”  It all made sense, although I didn’t check how the body respond to rapid weight loss.  And it’s not that I think my body is somehow different.  I’m just too god damn stubborned to let my body gain too much weight.  Plus if metabolism can swing one way, then perhaps a person can get it to move the other way too.

But I was very worried about weight loss, simply because I don’t have much weight to lose.  Fortunately, my surgeon told me that he won’t be wiring my jaws together.  Best thing ever.  While I won’t be able to chew for six weeks, I can still eat soft food.  That will make maintaining my weight much easier.

An Investment with Daily Dividends

Take out your health insurance member handbook and find “orthognathic surgery”.  Is it listed under exclusions or something like that?

On one hand, I should be upset that “insurance” won’t help pay for the surgery at all.  It’s the only thing I want done; I’ve never used my health insurance for anything.  (Hell, I actually waited until I had a job with dental and health insurance before I started orthodontic treatment.  Wrong move.  Wasted time and didn’t really save money.)

But I’m also thankful that I live in a country where a man of my modest intelligence is able to earn and save enough money to pay for such a surgery, and well-trained surgeons are readily available.  I was born into a place in China where no one had braces.  I certainly have never heard of them until I came to this country.  I don’t think our town had an orthodontist.  (Most people didn’t even have indoor plumbing.  But I don’t want to digress too much.)  I wonder how much things have improved.


tl;dr: orthognathic surgery soon; will look different.

Written by Barry

October 7, 2008 at 11:52 pm