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Maxillary Surgery


Maxillary surgery is done to correct abnormalities of the upper jaw that occur congenitally (such as cleft palate) or just because of uneven jaw growth. The surgery can involve setting back the upper jaw or bringing it forward. The upper jaw can also be surgically lengthened if necessary, and asymmetries between different sides of the face can be corrected.

Maxillary surgery is accomplished by bone-moving procedures such as osteotomy (bone-cut) and distraction osteogenesis, as well as bone-grafting techniques that may use either artificial bone material or a patient's own bone, taken from elsewhere in the body. Depending on each patient's specific situation, surgery of the mandible (lower jaw) may also be a part of the treatment plan. Maxillary surgery may also be combined with orthodontic procedures such as braces.

Treatment

The surgery is generally conducted under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision in the upper lip, through which the maxilla can be exposed. After the bone has been repositioned as necessary, tiny plates and screws are used to fix the bone into the new position.

After jaw surgery, many people experience facial swelling that can be severe for the first few days. Applying ice packs can bring down the major swelling, but residual swelling can take several weeks to go down. Patients may also feel some numbness in their lips, gums and/or chin for some time after the surgery.

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