Sorry it has been a while since I last blogged. I have been busy setting up the provisions for the charity website and have been researching and exploring with pain management techniques. One of the main areas people seem to question me about is the cost of orthognathic surgery. I never really considered this as a deciding factor when undertaking my surgery as I live in the UK. With the expansion of my blog and the international audience, I feel that it is important to create a blog about the prices of orthognathic surgery and my experiences with both the NHS and private services available in the UK.
In the UK we have a health care service called the NHS (National Health Service) that is funded by collective tax payers. The service is classed as FREE and deals with essential health cases. I started my orthognathic journey from a very young age and from the age of 11 I was evaluated by a maxillofacial surgeon. When I first went to the hospital I could not see the issue with my face. I thought I looked and acted like everyone else. To my horror the surgeons were quite rude and concerned about my case and could see the early signs of a severe asymmetry and growth on my lower jaw. This was a cause of concern for the hospital but I felt like they were dramatizing the whole situation. I undertook brace treatment (for free) on the NHS from the age of 11-16. The braces were fitted on my lower teeth only and I had several teeth removed. By the time I was 19 I was sick of waiting on my local orthognathic surgery list and transferred to King’s College Hospital in London. This was where I met my orthognathic surgeon Mr Shaun Matthews and my orthodontist Dr Cobourne.
At this point in my life I had suffered from many years of bullying and my asymmetry was very noticeable to me and others. My face was very long and I had a moon shaped profile. My upper and lower teeth were badly crooked despite having braces on the bottom teeth for over 4 years. Mr Matthews and Dr Cobourne agreed on a treatment plan that would take around 3 years to complete.
After 2 years of treatment my asymmetry and jaw length had peeked and I started to develop severe left sided facial pain. After lots of tests and waiting, I was diagnosed with atypical trigeminal neuralgia and TMD. The 3 year treatment target had come and gone and I was beginning to lose my patience. I really wanted to be able to speak properly, eat properly and function again. Although there was a chance that the surgery could make my condition worse I knew I needed orthognathic surgery to help me function again. I did not care how I looked from the outside as much as the pain overtook my life. I started to look at private health care and second opinions. I visited 3 different consultants and all had the same surgery in mind. They all agreed that I would need bimaxillary surgery and it would be very expensive. Without the braces treatment which would have cost extra most quotes suggested £33,000. With braces treatment and after care the price was looking at £45,000. In American dollars this equates to around $50,000-$70000 This is a pretty hefty amount for anybody to finance. I certainly could not afford this being a student and working part time. After asking my surgeon Mr Shaun Matthews I decided to stay with the NHS. Mr Matthews assured me that the procedure and aftercare would be exactly the same in the NHS as it would be private. So this made up my mind.
I undertook bimaxillary osteotomy surgery at King’s College hospital in 2011 to correct my class III asymmetric malocclusion. Designed to straighten, shorten and align my upper and lower jaw with the mid line of my face. My lower chin point was moved 9mm to the left and my upper jaw rotated 2mm right and 2mm forward. After suffering from complications for a year I had my titanium plates and screws removed in an operation in December 2012.
In conclusion, orthognathic surgery is a very expensive and high risk operation. I would never suggest having this surgery done for cosmetic only reasons. If you can prove that the surgery is essential to your wellbeing and health your insurance company should pay for all or some of your treatment. But make sure this is in writing before proceeding with any treatment. I wish you all luck and I hope you have found this blog useful.
In the next few weeks I will be releasing my first “Patient’s Guide to Orthognathic Surgery”. The booklet will cover many issues surrounding post-operative care and possible complications associated with this type of surgery. It will also detail helpful tips and remedies I have found useful whilst recovering from orthognathic surgery. This will be a donation based booklet. Any proceeds made from the book will be invested into the creation of the Jaw & Face charity scheme that I am currently setting up. This charity will be the first charity specifically to help people who are undertaking any form of jaw surgery and/ or have rare facial pain conditions.
If you would like to be kept informed about the latest work I am undertaking and want to receive more content from the Jaw & Face charity project you can subscribe for FREE on the link below.