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Jaw Surgery Recovery | Oldham | Manchester Orthodontics

Immediately After Surgery

Patients may feel discomfort after an operation, although the level will vary from patient to patient for both adults and children. When you go home, it is important that a friend or relative spends the first night with you. Remember to take any advised or prescribed medications. You will be able to shower on the second day after jaw surgery, but you must avoid hot, prolonged showers which may cause bleeding in the upper jaw if surgery is performed there.

Avoid exercises, any heavy lifting or activity that raises your blood pressure or pulse for at least one month after the surgery. The blood vessels are still healing from the surgery and any increase in activity may cause bleeding. You may begin gentle exercises after two weeks, but do not do any cardio for 4-6 weeks after the surgery. Do not drive a vehicle or perform any task that requires coordination or judgement for at least 48 hours following your anesthetic.


It is not uncommon to have minor oozing from the surgical sites (regardless of the type of orthodontic surgery you have undertaken) in the mouth, or from the nose. If you have had upper jaw surgery, you may also notice blood coming out from your nose when you lean your head forwards or backwards. You may continue to experience bleeding or oozing usually for 7-10 days after the surgery. However, please call your surgeon if there is excessive bleeding, or if you have any concerns.


The swelling is perhaps one of the post-operative effects of jaw surgery that most people want to know about, and it usually varies from patient to patient. You must anticipate a degree of swelling over your cheek area as well as down into your neck. The swelling is maximal at day 4 and will slowly subside after two weeks. There is still about 10 to 20% of swelling that can maintain up to 2-3 months after surgery. You will have been given medications during the surgery and immediately after to help settle down some of the swelling, but once it has occurred on day 3, there is very little that can be done to eliminate it.

You should place ice on your face while you are awake for the first three to four days. The ice will also have a numbing effect that will reduce any post operative sensitivity. You must be careful not to apply too much ice directly on the skin, as it may cause burns. After day 4, a warm water bottle is then recommended to help reduce swelling.

Return to Work and School

You may return to work or school when you feel able. However, most people usually take one or two weeks to recover from jaw surgery. You will feel tired after surgery, but with good nutrition and rest your energy level should return to normal.

Jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, is a major procedure so recovery shouldn’t be taken lightly. But with the advice from this blog and your surgeon you will be on the road to recovery after your surgery in no time. 

If jaw surgery is something you’ve been considering, get in touch for more information or to book a consultation on 0161 768 0931.