Swelling is normal after surgery, it is a response of the body to the trauma caused by orthognatic surgery, and it is caused by different processes within the body:
- The anesthesia used during the surgery causes the blood vessels to dilate and release fluid to the surrounding areas.
-After surgery, new cells are sent to repair the affected body part, causing inflammation in the area. (This is part of the first stage of healing called the inflammatory phase, which generally peaks 72 hours after surgery)
- Surgery affects the lymphatic vessels, causing the damaged tissue to retain more fluid.
While perfectly normal, postoperative swelling can initially obscure the results of even the most expertly performed surgery.
For this reason, it is very important to bear in mind that inflammation varies greatly from one patient to another; some patients barely swell, while others develop noticeable postoperative edema, and most patients will notice that certain areas are more swollen, so that their face appears uneven.
Post-surgical swelling is not a symmetrical process, so in most cases, having one side of the face more "bulky" than the other does not in any way mean that the surgery is botched. It just means that some movements require more application of force than others by the maxillofacial surgeon, these areas tend to present more inflammation, it also usually happens when there are tooth extractions, rotation of the bone, etc.
If you fear that you may have become asymmetric after your orthognathic surgery, our first advice is to be patient and keep in mind that you may have noticeable swelling for up to 6 months after surgery. If you still feel very anxious, the best way to regain your peace of mind is by obtaining X-rays or clinical images of your bone structure; that way you can clearly see how your hard tissues are, and where the edema is concentrated.
So, don't be scared if your results are not exactly what you expected at first. Once the vessels reconnect and begin to function properly, your body's lymphatic drainage will be reactivated and the swelling will gradually disappear. Meanwhile, using ice, keeping your head elevated and staying active will be your best allies against excessive swelling. At Instituto Maxilofacial, in addition to our minimally invasive techniques, we offer specific postoperative care that makes our patients present much less inflammation than in other centers. Call us at +34 933933185 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more information.