After jaw surgery your body will be full of drugs and anaesthetic. In most cases you will not be eating or drinking as much as you usually do. You may also be covered in the yellow iodine used to clean the area during surgery. As a result of these factors you may find you break out in spots or hives. Or alternatively, you may find your skin is very dry and peeling. Providing you do not have any external scars you can resume your usual skin care routine and make sure you drink plenty of water. However, if you have external scars, like I did, you may have to adapt the way you clean your face.
Cleaning my face after surgery
After surgery I had several external stitches and as mentioned in my previous blog, a very sore bloody nose dot between my eyes. When I was first home from hospital I cleaned my face using cotton wool and warm water (avoiding the wound areas). It is really important that you use a mirror and fully wring out the cotton wool to avoid any drips falling onto your wound sites or stitches.
Within a few days I was using sensitive perfume-free baby wipes to wipe my face after food or medicine. These were great for a quick freshen up. My skin was really dry, red and at times was very sore. I invested in a good night cream for sensitive skin by Olay and used cotton wool with E45 after I had a bath. Other patients who have very sensitive skin suggest using organic Aloe Vera products during their recovery. Personally, I have tried quite a few of these natural products and none of them worked particularly well and none of them provided the level of moisturisation my skin needed. However, this isn’t to say that they will not work for you.
Very sore peeling lips
During the surgery the main body of work happens inside the mouth, but on rare occasions small cuts can be found around the mouth area after surgery. This is due to the extensive pulling and stretching of the mouth during surgery. These small cuts are usually less than 5mm in size but can be quite tender and red in the early stages of recovery. Something that I was all too familiar with during my recovery. When I woke up I remember feeling like someone had tried to literally rip my bottom jaw off. My lips were so swollen and cut that I did not think I would ever be able to shut them again.
I had a very sore and dry mouth area after surgery. Each corner of my mouth was quite swollen, sore and slightly ripped. To combat this, I used Vaseline in the early weeks after surgery and bought an intense lip moisturiser once my lips started to properly peel and heal. It is important to note that this is completely normal and the area of redness can last for up to 10 months before fully healing. It does not usually leave a permanent scar.
Stitches removed after jaw surgery
Once I had my stitches removed, my surgeon told me to moisturise the area so the scars would fade. I used e45 body lotion on my face every day and also rubbed a small amount of vitamin e oil onto the scars before bedtime. Coconut oil is also supposed to be great, but that was not widely available 5 years ago. My scars have almost completely disappeared and the only time they are noticeable is when I point them out to someone on a sunny day or when I have a tan (scars do not tan).
It is not uncommon for people who have had this operation or similar operations to have skin complaints after surgery. Some patients I have spoken to have had really greasy and unmanageable skin after surgery. Others had a very similar experience to me. I am lucky because my skin is no longer dry and I do not get any spots or skin complaints since the operation and this is the same story for most other jaw surgery patients.
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