Plates and Screw Removal pt 1

The 6th December the day after my brothers 17th birthday. I had, had my pre op weeks before so was as prepared as I was ever going to be. I had packed my bag days in advance and only needed to pack my last minute bits (eg my retainers, reading glasses and my good luck mascot). I was quite worried about the level of pain I would be in after the operation and was dreading the thought that it would be as bad as the first operation. Although my surgeon had assured me the operation would not be as bad, I was still preparing for the worse. I was worried about complications such as my palette or my jaw breaking or my surgeon not being able to get all the plates and screws out. There had been a case recently at the hospital where a patient’s palette had become dislodged and this really worried me. I was also worried that it could intensify my face pain issue or that I could become more numb than I already was.

I arrived at King’s College Hospital at 6am in the morning and I was allocated a bed straight away. I was in bed 22 in a 2 bedded room at the end of the ward. This was a much nicer room than my original surgery and was away from the louder part of the ward. The registrar came to discuss the operation at 7am and recapped my notes and checked my allergies. I informed him of my latex allergy and gave him a list of antibiotics that I am allergic to. Shortly afterwards a nurse came to do my observations (eg temperature, weight, blood pressure and measurements for surgical stockings). The nurse confirmed that I would be second on the list to go down to theatre. This was already agreed with my surgeon weeks before. I was expecting a long day of waiting. Just after 8am a nurse came to the room and informed me that I would now have to go first due to my latex allergy and the trolley was outside. I did not have my hospital gown or stockings on and I had a mad rush to get ready and go down to theatre. Unlike my first operation where I had to walk to the operation suite, this time I was to be wheeled down by a porter. I was a little shocked and actually wanted to walk as I wanted to prepare myself mentally for the operation. The nurse who was going to accompany me said that I had to go on the trolley in case I fell and hurt myself. At this point mum made sure they were coming for the right person and not someone with trouble walking. The lady who I was sharing a room with was having an ankle operation and I thought there might have been a mix up. However, it was correct and it was me who was due to be wheeled down. Very strange!  It felt really weird having to be taken down when I could walk perfectly well.

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I was taken down to the holding area and checked in by an anaesthetist who was rather surprised to see me so early. Apparently, because I have an allergy to latex I must go first in line. Unlike with my last operation, mum was allowed in the holding area and we were chatting whilst we waited for me to be taken in. The anaesthetist went to find my notes and to discover what was going to happen and another anaesthetist turned up at the bed. He did explain that I may be sent back up to the ward as the theatre had already been prepped for the big maxillofacial operation for another patient. I was ok about this as it had all been too rushed for my liking anyways. The other anaesthetist then returned and started to conduct the surgical check list with me while we waited for a final decision. It was discovered I had nail polish on my toes (a surgery no no) but I had forgotten to take this off. Because my stockings were covering it and it was a small operation on my face it was agreed that it was ok to remain on.

Finally, the surgeon arrived and saw me in the holding area. He was shocked to see me so early and then went to find out what was happening. On his return he came to see me and said he would fit me in first. He said because it was so early I would probably be able to go home the same day, which is exactly what I was hoping for. I reminded him that I wanted to keep my screws and plates and he laughed and called me weird. Then I said goodbye to mum and was wheeled into the anaesthetist’s room. This time I was really calm and when I said goodbye to mum I was not as emotional or nervous. It was all very calm. This may be partly due to the fact I did not have time to get worried and the plan of going second in line had gone out of the window.

When I was wheeled into the room there were loads of people rushing around getting ready. In my original orthognathic surgery there was only 2 people in the room with me before I went to sleep. This time I had a whole team of people. This helped me to feel reassured that I was in safe hands. I had 3 anaesthetists and they were all very nice. They were making conversation and putting me at ease. I told them about my blogs and explained why I wanted to keep the titanium metalwork and they all seemed really impressed and enthusiastic about it.  I thought that it would be a good thing to be able to show you all the type of plates and screws that will be going into your face when you have an operation like this. I only had double jaw and did not have a genioplasty but I think the excess of metal presented here will give you an idea of what to expect.

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