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Reconstructive Jaw Surgery

Reconstructive jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, is a maxillofacial procedure that is performed in order to correct problems with the form and function of the jawbones. Jaw problems that may require reconstructive jaw surgery are numerous. Congenital or developmental jaw problems, including cleft lip/palate conditions, can greatly improve with reconstructive jaw surgery. Patients with a severe over- or under-bite, as caused by a deficiency or excess of jawbone tissue, can also benefit from reconstructive jaw surgery. Reconstructive jaw surgery can also correct traumatic facial injuries to the jawbones.

Reconstructive jaw surgery can greatly benefit people who have experienced pain and disability as a result of jaw problems. People with serious jaw deformities can have difficulty chewing and eating. Early loss of teeth might occur as a result of this disfigurement. People who have these jaw problems might also have difficulty with speech that can be improved with the help of reconstructive jaw surgery.

Reconstructive jaw surgery can be performed on the lower jaw (mandible), the upper jaw (maxilla), and the surrounding facial structures. Often fixing jaw problems requires both the help of a plastic reconstructive surgeon and an orthodontist who can help to correct problems with the teeth. Reconstructive jaw surgery is performed by a plastic surgeon that cuts the jawbone(s) using a procedure called osteotomy and permanently repositions the structure of the jaw. The bone structure is held in place with titanium plates, wires, and screws. Sometimes arch bars are also utilized during reconstructive jaw surgery in order to provide greater stability and support.

There are a number of special techniques that can be used during reconstructive jaw surgery that can facilitate optimal results in patients. "Distraction"? is a reconstructive jaw surgery technique that uses a device to slowly expand the jaw area until the new or repositioned jawbone grows stronger. During reconstructive jaw surgery, a bone graft might be necessary for people with infections or deficiencies in bone structure. Bones from the ribs, hips, and skull can be grafted to create new jawbone structure during reconstructive jaw surgery. Alloplastic bone replacement procedures may also be employed during reconstructive jaw surgery.

Reconstructive jaw surgery is normally performed under general anesthesia on an in-patient basis, meaning that the patient will have a short stay in the hospital following the procedure. As with all medical procedures, there are risks and benefits of reconstructive jaw surgery that a patient will want to discuss with their surgeon before the procedure.

Reconstructive jaw surgery is often done to enhance the cosmetic appearance of the jaw, but more importantly, to restore function to the jaw structure. Some reconstructive jaw surgery procedures will be covered by health insurance. You might have to be persistent and communicate to your insurance provider the adverse health problems that require you to seek this procedure. If you would like to learn more about reconstructive jaw surgery, please contact us to consult with a reconstructive plastic surgeon in your area.