Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Recovery after Titanium Plate and Screw Removal Surgery


Past the 2nd week mark I had an itchy top lip and nose and I hoped this would be the return of my feeling in the rest of my face. I went food shopping for the first time and was absolutely knackered by half way around the shop and just wanted to go home. My sleep pattern was up and down and I was finding it hard to sleep again. I think the emotional stress and pressure I was putting on myself did not help. I have not worked since April 2012 and I was really starting to panic about finances and being able to pay my bills. I have worked since I was 17 and had always been able to manage even whilst I undertook my degree. At one point in my life I had 3 jobs and was studying full time. I felt I had lost myself in the process of orthognathic surgery. I had hoped by the 2012 Christmas I would have been fully recovered and in a stable job but that was not to be.

On the 24th December I had my check up at King’s. My stiches had started to fall out and dissolve and the wounds were still clean but tender. A member of the surgical team checked me over and ensured that both the upper and lower jaw were secure. The swelling and pain I was experiencing was normal. Christmas day did not really feel like Christmas day this year. I was unable to eat the usual Christmas dinner but had the mash, Yorkshire pudding and vegetables. I was still on full pain relief and my hair was still falling out in excess. My pain levels seem to increase after over use of my muscles and greatly increased after walking or driving. Not exactly ideal. In terms of psychology as humans we always try to avoid pain or painful situations we have experienced in the past. So I have found myself becoming more reclusive and avoidant of driving or going out anywhere I will have to walk for any length of time. I had undertaken a couple of cbt psychological sessions with my psychologist before the operation and was not due to speak to her again until the January. I will be writing a blog on this soon :-)

Up to 8 weeks post operation I was still continuing with full pain relief, salt rinses, heat packs, massages, baby spoons and baby tooth brushes. I applied to have physiotherapy and was waiting for my first appointment. I saw Mr Matthews on 14th January 2013 and he was happy with the healing. He did broach the subject of another operation but said we will review it at my next appointment. He asked me how my Christmas had been and I mentioned that I had been writing a blog and self-help guides. He was really interested and said he would give it a read. I showed him some of the articles on my phone and we discussed some opportunities for research and the research proposal that TMD and TN could be linked to the way you are born. For example delivery by forceps. He was enthusiastic about the blog and suggested that I could do some mentoring through the hospital once I was feeling fit enough. He also invited me to be a guest speaker at this year’s maxillofacial surgeon conference. I am a little nervous but I have spoken in public to a big crowd before at university so I am sure I can do it again.

Me 4 weeks post surgery

In terms of recovery from the plate removal surgery, I am 12 weeks post-surgery now and still using a small baby spoon some of the time and on varying levels of pain relief. I have my physiotherapy appointment coming up on the 4th March and am waiting to see another psychologist. I have booked myself onto a couple of short courses in massage and reflexology. I hope to develop my new websites and create a business which will specialise in alternative pain management and counselling. As always, I will keep you posted about my progress and thank you again for all the support and feedback.

Me 10 weeks post operation still having swelling on and off

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Me 4 months post plate removal.... swelling nearly gone..... at last!

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