Sunday, 7 July 2013

What They Don't Tell You About Orthognathic Surgery

  • Are you an orthognathic surgery patient? 
  • Are you worried about your surgery and recovery? 
  • Are your surgical team very vague and not willing to answer some of your questions and concerns?
Then this book is for you!

So as you all probably know I have been going on for weeks and weeks, months and months that I am researching and writing material. Well guess what? It is finally finished… YAY! It was a lot harder and more time consuming then I would have ever thought. Day upon day of scrolling through Google and writing little notes down on stickers which inevitably got lost but I have finished. With the help of my surgeon and many wonderful orthognathic surgery patients the booklet has been completed and holds nothing but pure honest, straight talking and vital information that patients can use both before, during and after orthognathic surgery. Within this comprehensive booklet over 35 areas of patient recovery are discussed.  The booklet has been broken down into 4 main sections;

•              Practical post-operative care
•              Appearance
•              Medical/physiological issues post-surgery
•              Psychological issues post-surgery

Within the practical post-operative care chapter you will find information and advice on various aspects of recovery such as; talking, eating, sleeping and returning to work or school. The appearance section covers areas such as; swelling, bruising, nose shape and the “new you”. Moving on from this, medical and physiological issues include sections on; nerve damage, pressure changes, weight loss and hair loss. Finally, the psychological issues chapter covers depression and insomnia.

This booklet is one of a kind and I can guarantee you will not find such detailed and informative advice anywhere else on the internet. This booklet comes from the patient’s perspectives. It covers the main risk areas and recovery notes but also discusses areas of rare complications that are not always discussed at the hospital pre- surgery.

After all of the 39 subsections you will find an area titled “Steffie’s Tips”. This brief foot note gives patients ideas on what to do if you suffer from any of the symptoms or issues after surgery. These tips are based on my own personal experiences and other orthognathic patient’s advice on what worked for them.

So who is this booklet for?

The answer is simple… this booklet is for anybody who is interested in orthognathic surgery. This includes people who are considering undertaking orthognathic treatment and want some more detailed information on the recovery process. This booklet also appeals to patients who are just about to undergo surgery and want to prepare both mentally and physically as best they can. Furthermore, patients who have already undertaken the operation may wish to purchase this booklet for advice and tips to guide them through their recovery.

Moving on from this, patients who have already recovered from surgery may be interested in other orthognathic patient’s stories and experiences through treatment and recovery. On a more general level, this booklet may aid family and friends and help to brace them for the changes and possible complications that can occur during orthognathic surgery recovery. Finally, this booklet will be of great benefit for health care providers and maxillofacial teams in providing more practical and hands on approach to tackling complications associated with orthognathic surgery.

So why did I spend all this time and energy creating this booklet? 

Originally, the thought of creating a booklet on the recovery of orthognathic surgery was daunting. Instead of focusing my energy onto this big project I worked on my blog and created short checklists for patients. As the blog grew and more patients started to get in contact with me and ask questions, I realised how important it is to share all my knowledge and experiences.

Through, my treatment and recovery I encountered many issues and setbacks. I suffered massively during my recovery; mentally, physically and spiritually. The whole process drained me. I seemed to have lost everything and I was deeply unhappy with myself. I did not regret my decision to undertake surgery though. The surgery was successful and I now have less pain than before the surgery. But I still encountered issues with pain, hair loss, eating, talking, lifting, appearance, relationships, confidence and the list goes on. I found I would talk about the surgery non-stop. I would re-run my recovery on a daily basis and fixate on which hospital appointment I had next and what would they say. I would obsess over the slightest twinge or weird jaw movement. It was then that a friend said to me… “Hay why don’t you write a blog, I am sure you are not the only one having these issues”. At first the thought of sharing myself and my feelings with others was scary, but when I started I found I could not stop. It was like a release and it seemed to be helping so many other people. My journey started at the age of 11 and I am still undertaking treatment now for my face and jaw issues. Nothing is ever bad and there is always a reason why things have to happen to us. It would be a waste for me to go through so many experiences and never share my knowledge.

A quick search on the internet used to bring up success stories of patients who had no issues before and after surgery, patients who had no problem with pain or getting back to normal after 4 weeks. Well that was until I came along and decided to tell the truth. It may be a bed of roses for some. It may be easier than you ever imagined. Or it could be in fact, be the hardest challenge of your life. Not from a physical point of view, maybe from a psychological point of view. Regardless of your personal journey, this booklet was created to share the good and bad of orthognathic surgery. Many of the reports you read and even your own surgeon will sugar coat the procedure because they are so used to seeing amazing results. This booklet is not supposed to scare you off surgery but to act as a guide of the possible complications that may occur. It is also an invaluable handbook that outlines how other patients cope with some of the problems they are faced with after surgery.

For those who are new to the blog or do not follow my personal story, last year in October I created this blog. Before setting up the blog I did not know anyone else who had the problems I had. Through very minimal promotion the blog has grown and grown in popularity and it is now 4th in the search results in Google for orthognathic surgery. Such a huge achievement and I am so grateful for everybody who has read the blog, commented in discussions, subscribed to my blog list and followed my social media pages. The blog is a mixture of both my experience dealing with chronic facial pain and undertaking orthognathic surgery treatment and now reaches thousands of people all over the world.

After speaking with many of you and recovering from plate removal surgery, I really wanted to participate in some charity work to raise funds to support people who are living with facial pain disorders or who are having any type of corrective jaw surgery. Both issues can be very traumatic. I remember how lonely and scared I have been in points throughout my journey and I would have really appreciated some help and advice from somebody who understood me. In response to the question, there are NO charities specifically for facial pain disorders or jaw surgery. This was shocking news to me. So I have decided to do something about it. I decided to set up a charity myself called Jaw & Face. This charity is a therapy group which acts as a platform to connect and support people who are suffering from facial pain disorders. It also acts as a guide to individuals who are undertaking treatment for jaw conditions and/or undergoing any type of jaw surgery.

If you would like to learn more please watch this short YouTube clip:

So far the charity has raised £600 towards the creation and running of a website and social media connections but we need more to further develop the service. All of the material I have produced up until this point has been completely free and many maxillofacial clinics use my patient work sheets.

The charity relies solely on donations to maintain the website and develop the services provided to the users. We cannot keep the charity running without you! So we need your help.

All the money you donate will be used to..
  • Finalise and maintain the company website
  • Fund projects to help people suffering from long term facial pain
  • Provide continuous and essential support and guidance to jaw surgery patients and facial pain sufferers
  • To continue to research into alternative pain therapy and produce material for users to utilise. 

To receive the comprehensive and exclusive; “What They Don’t Tell You About Orthognathic Surgery” eBooklet click on the link below. To thank you for your contribution, all donors will receive an exclusive Patient’s Guide to Retainers booklet completely FREE!

The money we raise for the charity is so important and will allow Jaw & Face to expand and help many more people.  I would like to thank you all again for your continued interest and support. Finally, please feel free to make a donation to the charity on the link below if you have found any of the FREE information useful.  

Hope you are well and speak soon.

Stefanie Grant