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Information for Patients  

Post-Operative Instructions

In order to heal promptly with a minimum amount of discomfort and decreased chances of infection, it is necessary to devote detailed care to your body. Please read these instructions every day until you are seen for your postoperative appointment as instructions change daily, and this will serve as a reminder on a daily basis as to what to do in regards to your postoperative care.

Swelling: Swelling of injured tissues is the body's normal response to surgery. This can be minimized with the application of cold packs immediately after surgery for approximately 48 hours. A reusable facial ice bandage may be provided or you may fill Ziploc baggies with ice cubes, fold it within a moist towel, and apply to the face for approximately 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off.

Starting 4 days after surgery, moist heat with gentle massage to the outside of your face in the areas of swelling can help the swelling subside. Moist heat promotes healing and will help resolve any muscle spasm you might be experiencing.

Bleeding: Bleeding from the bone takes several hours to stop completely. It is normal to ooze some blood from the surgical area for up to 24 hours and then off and on for three days. If bleeding occurs, it is best controlled by pressure. Roll gauze into a tube or square and lightly moisten it, then place it carefully between the jaws on the surgery site. Do not place gauze out in the cheeks. It must press on the surgery site. The gauze pad should be removed after approximately one hour and the wound reevaluated. If oozing continues, replace the gauze after lightly moistening it. Sit quietly without spitting or talking. Moving the jaw, smoking, spitting, or changing the gauze too often merely dislodges the blood clot so that a new one must be formed. You might also try a moist tea bag wrapped in a moist gauze sponge placed over the surgical site with firm, constant pressure for another 60 minutes. If you have significant wound bleeding, call our answering service.

Pain: Take the pain pills as prescribed approximately two hours after surgery, If you can tolerate ibuprofen, take this as prescribed with a glass of water. This will usually help keep you comfortable in the presence of mild pain. After taking a prescribed narcotic, do not drive or operate dangerous machinery because your senses and reflexes will be diminished. Avoid taking the pain pill on an empty stomach. If nausea does occur, sip cold, clear liquids (juices, water, tea, Gatorade, etc.) An anti-nausea suppository can be prescribed if nausea persists. Much surgery of the jaw involves cutting through muscle. In its repair, muscle frequently undergoes spasm. This spasm can be painful and is not usually relieved by pain pills. However, the application of moist heat (starting 4 days after surgery) with gently massage can offer great benefits in the reduction of muscle spasm and its associated pain.

It is not uncommon for patients to experience pain in other areas such as the ears, face, or teeth in the area of surgery. This pain is generally referred pain and usually subsides in a few days.




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