Jaw Surgery: The Aftermath

Two years on, Reuelwrites tells it all on the aftermath of the jaw surgery.

Hey all! It’s been a little under two years since I went for the jaw surgery with NUH. Back then I wrote multiple articles on jaw surgery and never would have thought that it would help so many Singaporeans who were in a fix on whether to proceed with the jaw surgery, on the procedures to go about doing so, as well as what to expect during and after the jaw surgery.

You can read the articles by clicking on these links:

  1. Everything You Need To Know About Going For a Jaw Surgery in Singapore
  2. Surviving Jaw Surgery – Week 1
  3. A Jaw-Dropping Experience – Week 2

Two years went by just like that. Even till this day, I have so many enquiries on [going through] the jaw surgery. So here’s my report card on the recovery and aftermath. I have permanent partial numbness on the right side of my lower lip. Yes, permanent numbness is real. Going for the multiple follow-ups for months after the surgery, I was told by my surgeon that the initial numbness was ‘normal’. It came to a point where the numbness continued to be present despite being more than a year after surgery. That was when my surgeon told me that I belong to one of the rare uncommon cases where the patient never recovers from the numbness.

Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses

Taken in 2013: This was my perpetual default face during photo taking because I always worry over presenting an ugly smile

“Does [the permanent numbness] bother me?” No, if I don’t think about it. In spite of that, the numbness does not really deter me from life as per normal.

“Is there any extra procedure during post-surgery?” Yes, I am supposed to wear my retainers all the time for at least two years from surgery to keep my teeth aligned. But being in the sales trade (real estate), I couldn’t afford talking weird so I only wore my retainers every night before I turn in. This step is very important if you don’t want to go back to your orthodontist to put on braces again in a couple of years’ time.

“Permanent numbness?! Reuelwrites, tell me.. Is it still worth it?” Well, to be honest, the numbness is annoying when I am fixated on it. If I can give an example, it’s like a big booger in your nose; it’s there but you won’t ‘feel’ it unless you focus on it (LOL). But this, in exchange for a nice smile, I find the trade-offs still worthwhile on a whole.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, selfie and closeup

Taken in 2017 after my braces were removed. Same cap, same face, but smaller ‘face’ and nicer smile, I think?!

Having a nice smile helps in my own self-esteem and being in the real estate industry where a nice smile can make a difference, I would say that I would have gone ahead with the surgery even if I knew that the numbness would be permanent right from the start.

So, at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, “What if I never recover from the numbness, am I able to accept the permanent condition? Does the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?” If yes, then I would say “Go ahead with the surgery!” If that bothers you, you might want to hit the brakes on proceeding with the jaw surgery.

The above are just my experience going through jaw surgery and yours may differ from mine. However, if you have any other questions, feel free to email me at reueleugenetay@gmail.com and I will answer you to the best of my ability and knowledge.

Everything You Need To Know About Going For a Jaw Surgery in Singapore

Which hospitals in Singapore does jaw surgeries? How much does the jaw surgery cost? Can I claim insurance? How do I prepare for the surgery? Find answers here.

Disclaimer: This article serves as an informational tool to advise Singaporeans (and foreigners) on what to expect and how to prepare for a jaw surgery in Singapore. In no way do I seek to encourage or dissuade (you) readers from proceeding with the surgery.

Orthognathic surgery, otherwise known as corrective jaw surgery is an operation performed by an ‘oral and maxillofacial surgeon to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth.’ (MyOMS, n.d.)

PHOTO: sotadental.com

Contrary to what you think, jaw surgeries is not a ‘Western’ or ‘Korean’ thing. Jaw surgeries are not uncommon at all in Singapore. I have known two friends who went through a jaw surgery in Singapore and another who’s going for the surgery in due time. Hence it’s suffice to say that Singapore has the talents and the equipment to execute such surgeries and you don’t have to go to Korea to get your surgery done (of course we can, we are like elites in the medical field aren’t we?).

You may want to consider going for a jaw surgery if you have the following problems:

  • Speech and enunciation problems
  • Difficulty chewing, or biting food
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headache
  • Excessive wear of the teeth
  • Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
  • Unbalanced facial appearance from the front, or side
  • Facial injury
  • Birth defects
  • Receding lower jaw and chin
  • Protruding jaw
  • Inability to make the lips meet without straining
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)

(MyOMS, n.d.)

Which Hospitals in Singapore does Jaw Surgeries?

I did mine at the National University Hospital (NUH). The other public healthcare institute that I know of that execute such surgeries is the National Dental Centre of Singapore (NDC). On an overall, both institutions does corrective jaw surgeries at rates which I believe to be significantly lower than private dental centres. Thomson Dental Centre and Gleneagles Medical Centre also conducts jaw surgeries. But bear in mind that private institutions and (plastic) surgery clinics may cost more and offer very much the same services and quality of care you will find at public healthcare institutes.

PHOTO: straitstimes.com

If you would like to check out private dental centres which executes jaw surgeries, simply google ‘orthognathic surgery in Singapore‘. In addition, this website has a list of 14 Orthognathic Surgery Clinics which you can reference from.

If you would like either NUH and NDC to execute your jaw surgery, do take note that you may/will have to be on the waiting list which shouldn’t extend beyond 6 months of waiting time.

You may contact and make an appointment with NUH via phone at +65 6772 4921.

You may contact and make an appointment with NDC via email at appointment@ndcs.com.sg or via phone at +65 6324 8802.

Can I Claim Insurance For The Surgery?

PHOTO: asiaexpatguides.com

Yes and no. It really depends on your surgery classification. If your surgery is deemed as a corrective/functional surgery, your surgeon will be able to write a favourable report to help you get your insurance claims. If it is considered a cosmetic surgery, then you may not make any claims at all. So make sure you discuss with your surgeon during financial planning to get his advice. Most surgeons will be more than willing to help patients save money on their surgery.

Because my surgeon deemed this as a functional surgery, my AIA Pink of Health insurance policy can kick in and pay for the surgery bill. Do note that braces treatment will most likely be rejected for insurance claims.

When in doubt, ask your insurance agent. You paid them a hefty amount to serve you anyway.

What Are The Treatment Stages Like?

Phase 1: Treatment Planning
Treatment planning is carried out jointly by an orthodontist and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The orthodontist determines how braces will align your teeth in preparation for surgery. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon studies your jaw deformity and decides on the type of surgery most appropriate for your case. This initial phase of treatment will include consultation, records-taking and discussion of the treatment plan with you. (Singhealth, n.d.)

Phase 2: Presurgical Orthodontic Phase
Many patients undergo an initial period of presurgical orthodontic treatment (braces) may take 9 to 18 months. The actual time taken depends on the condition, the patient’s age, cooperation and other factors. During this time, patients are seen at intervals of 4 to 6 weekly intervals. At the end of this phase, the teeth are aligned so that they will fit into a good bite after surgery. (Singhealth et al, n.d.)

PHOTO: ebersmoore.com

I chose NUH to do my braces and surgery. Prior to putting on the braces, you will need to extract up to 4 premolar tooth (depending on situation) and possibly all your wisdom tooth. I removed 7 tooth in total via surgery. In order to knock-down the cost, I chose the post-graduate option for my braces during which I have to wait for a post-graduate orthodontist to be assigned to me. This meant that my braces were done by a NUS dentistry graduate who is bonded to the Faculty of Dentistry’s Post-graduate clinic (like doctors who are bonded to hospitals as houseman). I will breakdown the cost for you in a while.


Is it ‘safe’? My orthodontist who’s not really a post-graduate since he has already graduated 5 years ago was very professional and personal. He even texts me a day before my monthly follow-up visits even though he didn’t have to. And the visits are very smooth. Meaning to say, you’re in safe hands.

You can also choose to go for an autologous transfusion to donate blood to yourself one week before the surgery although this is optional. While you can always take blood from the blood bank, your own blood is always the safest option. I did it.

Phase 3: Surgical Phase
Surgery is scheduled when the presurgical orthodontic phase is completed. Braces used to align teeth prior to surgery are left in place during the surgical procedure. They help in stabilising the teeth and jaw bones after surgery. (Singhealth et al, n.d.)

When it comes to surgeries, there are no post-graduate option available. Who would want to risk a not-so-experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon to save a few hundred dollars anyway? In NUH, you will be operated by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who’s had decades of dental surgery experience.

This is a major surgery which could take as long as 9 hours. Mine took 7 hours. As such, a urinal catheter will be inserted to help you discharge your urine during and after the surgery due to inability resulting from the anesthetic. The entire operation will be done in your mouth, hence you will not have any facial scars. Screws and plates will also be placed within your jaw. I have 4 in my jaw. The alarm will not go off even if you step through the airport scanners fyi.

Phase 4: Post-surgical Orthodontic Phase
After surgery, post-surgical orthodontics is continued to achieve final alignment of the teeth and to retain them in their new position. (Singhealth et al, n.d.)

It’s the final stretch. You will need to put on braces again for months before switching out to retainers.

Cost Breakdown (NUH)

Phase 1: Treatment Planning
Cost at this phase is almost negligible. You will pay less than $100 in total consulting fees. The general dentist will review your case, advise you and refer you to an orthodontist who will further advise you.

Phase 2: Presurgical Orthodontic Phase
Your new life with braces starts here. But before that, you have to remove some teeth. My surgery to remove 7 tooth (including all of my wisdom tooth) costed around $5,000 as it was performed by my oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Around half was covered by Medisave. Because I went through NUH’s post-graduate programme, the total cost for braces was $2,140 inclusive of GST. You can also choose to pay in full or pay by installments which also happen to be interest-free by the way. I chose to pay by installments. Medisave and insurance may not be used here as braces treatment are not claimable (in my knowledge).

There are also some hidden costs such as payment for X-rays, mold model of your jaw and all. Expect to pay about $200-$300 here.

Phase 3: Surgical Phase
I’m not so familiar with this but here goes. Before the surgery can proceed, the surgeon will need to plan and ‘practise’ on a model. Traditionally, they will need to recreate two models of the entire jaw. This costs about $2,800. With the advent of technology, 3D imaging via CT scan is now available. This option costs approximately $5,400. I initially chose the latter option but missed my appointment (Laughs). Because of the lack of time, I had to go with the first option, but it turned out okay. The surgeon assured me that it was the ‘Gold standard’ for orthognathic surgeries before the 3D imaging came along.

My total surgery cost inclusive of 4 days hospital stay (B ward) was approximately $21,291. The lowest you can go is B ward. B ward includes an air-conditioned 4-bed room (but mine only had 2 yay), bathroom, telephone and even your own television. If you are feeling rich, take the A ward (you stay alone). Government contributions remove up to 20% from total bill. Medisave takes out 40% from total bill. Because my surgery is considered a functional surgery instead of cosmetic, I can claim the maximum $10,000 for the surgery via AIA’s Pink of Health insurance policy. Right now, it appears I might be able to claim more to cover even the Medisave portion but that is still unconfirmed.

Phase 4: Post-surgical Orthodontic Phase
Follow-up visits with the surgeon costs roughly $70 per visit. Prepare $350 here. Your diet will consist of Ensure milk via syringes. Set aside $90 here although I did think you’re actually saving money here since you’re not feasting outside.

If I’m not wrong, I shouldn’t need to pay anymore for braces here. In NUH, you will go back to the orthodontist who was with you right from the beginning for your braces follow-up. I would expect to do some final X-ray scans and mold models here so $200 should be enough.

So, assuming you are following my path and you are paying the entire treatment procedure without any form of subsidy, medisave and insurance payout, expect to pay approximately $35,000.

Surgery Risks and Complications

As with every major surgery, orthognathic surgeries comes with certain risks should things go south (though it’s highly unlikely as affirmed by the surgeon). Before you sign your consent for the surgery, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon will personally inform you on this. You will be briefed again on the risks the day before the surgery (as if you need to be frightened before the surgery).

Some of the risks are as follows:

  • Infection
  • Decreased sensation or numbness from nerve injury
  • Permanent numbness from nerve injury
  • Bleeding that could be potentially serious
  • Jaw joint problems
  • Damage to normal structures such as the teeth, gums, and bone
  • Blabber problems due to damage done by catheter insertion
  • Breathing problems due to blood clot and/or damage done to throat by breathing tube

Adapted from LACOMS (n.d.).

What to Expect and How to Prepare For Post-Surgery

It’s a 3-month-long recovery period from this point on. Soldier on for the next few months and you will get aligned teeth and a great smile. There are plenty of resources on the internet to teach you on what to expect and how to prepare for post-surgery. For your convenience, I have listed the things you need to know about post-surgery below to help you get by this trying recovery period.

You can also read up from the websites and blogs from past patients by googling ‘orthognatic surgery‘ on the internet.

Diet after surgery

Liquid Diet (Week 0-3)
You will be on strictly liquid diet for at least 2 weeks. You will lose weight during this period, the idea is to not lose too much. The day right after your surgery, your surgeon will push you to start drinking water and Ensure milk using the syringe. It may sound cruel, but only when you showed that you are capable enough to feed yourself will the dentist allow you to be off IV and subsequently be discharged. Drink water every hour to keep yourself hydrated.

Fun fact, every website I visited recommends Ensure. Must be one heck of a milk huh?


How much calories you need everyday depends on your BMI. But most would recommend taking 5-6 meals a day. Ideally you should be downing 5-6 glasses of Ensure milk a day at the minimum – even then, it’s not enough. One glass of Ensure milk packs 266 calories. Ensure milks comes in 3 flavours (Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate) and in 2 versions; 250ml pre-made can (approximately S$2.15 per can) or the 850g formula powder can (S$30). You can get approximately 16 glasses from one can of Ensure formula powder. But if you’re lazy, get the pre-made canned ones.

Make soup and pureed juices for extra taste. Make sure there’s no pulp and bits in the beverage which can end up stuck between your teeth. Focus on recovering back some pounds after the 1st week.

Soft Diet (Week 2-6)
Follow your dentist’s instructions, don’t jump the queue. Proceed to soft diet only when doc says so. When he does so, don’t get too excited yet. I tried to down scrambled eggs and failed terribly. Food that don’t require much chewing and is easy to swallow is great during this period. Porridge and mashed anything are a splendid choice.

Soft boiled eggs are my comfort food

Soft boiled eggs are my comfort food

Normal Diet (Week 6 onwards)
This is the moment you have been waiting for, to sink your teeth into something solid. Start slow. Attempt stuff that aren’t too hard. You don’t want to risk injuring your jaw.


You will be given all the necessary medications to aid in your recovery. Consume them diligently and faithfully.

Medication include:

  • Antibiotics
    To be grinded and fed through the syringe in the first week since you can’t open your mouth. It will taste horrible, mix with juices or Ribena to nullify the bitterness. Consume 3 times a day.
  • Painkillers
    To be grinded and fed through the syringe in the first week since you can’t open your mouth. It will taste horrible, mix with juices or Ribena to nullify the bitterness. Consume 1 per day.
  • Anti-nausea Medication
    Consume when needed
  • Nasal Spray
    To prevent dryness in your nose and help you breathe. Spray trice a day.
  • Medicated Lip Balm
    Prevents peeling lips. Apply generously trice a day.
  • Vitamin B Supplement
  • Cough Medicine (Optional)
  • Sleeping pills (Optional)
    You will find it hard to sleep in the first 5 days after the surgery due to the swelling. Consume sleeping pills to aid in doing so.

Oral Hygiene

You will be given a baby brush and Orasol mouthwash (containing Chlorhexidine antiseptic). Brush and rinse 3 times a day. Alternatively, you can use salt water to replace the mouthwash. Once the rubber bands are removed after the first week, you can actually brush the inside of your teeth as well, thus you don’t need the mouthwash. But if you’re lazy, brush the outside and continue to use the mouthwash.

PHOTO: gumtree.sg

Swelling and Bruising

Your face will swell after the surgery. But that’s not the worst. Expect the swelling to increase 48 hours after the surgery. Your face will look like a balloon but it’s only temporary. The swell will go down completely by the end of the first week.

Apply ice on the swelled area in 20 minute intervals. This will offer (temporary and much needed) relief and helps in bringing down swelling. Be careful of burns. Do this 3 times and after the 3rd time, apply heat pad – I don’t have this so I skipped it. Do this for the first 3-4 days. Apply heat after the 4th day to help bring down swelling and to help you sleep better.

You might also notice that the area around your jawline and your neck to be yellowish or even greenish in colour. Don’t worry about it. It’s temporary as well.

Sleep and Rest


As mentioned earlier, you will find much difficulty sleeping. Even after consuming the sleeping pills, I slept less than 3 hours during the 3rd day and less than 5 hours during the 4th day. Follow the above instructions to bring the swelling down. If you have a recliner at home, celebrate. If not, invest in another pillow and attempt to sleep in an elevated position (double pillows). This will also help bring the swelling down as well.


Your teeth will be bond together by rubber band for the first week or two depending on where you got your surgery done. My surgeon at NUH remove my rubber band after one week. While bond together, you won’t be able to speak at all.

Once untied, you can speak albeit with significant difficulty. Celebrate your new found freedom and keep your spirits up.


Because the surgery is done in the mouth, the surgeon had to put the breathing tube through your nose and into your throat to help you breathe during the surgery. You may experience difficulties breathing through the nose because there might be some blood clot stuck in the nose. Do not attempt to extract or blow it out as it may cause complications. Use the nasal spray.

You can also breathe through your mouth.


You will be drooling a lot – and I mean A LOT – during the first month due to the numbness of the nerves around your lips. Keep your handkerchief and tissues close by at all times.

Mental Wellness

PHOTO: listen-hard.com

Recovering from a corrective jaw surgery can be a daunting experience. The dentist will issue you one month’s MC which can be a boon or bane depending on your personality. Many patients tend to be depressed during this period. It’s important to surround yourself with family and friends during this trying time. Take this time to catch up on your favourite dramas, take a walk around the neighbourhood, enjoy the company of your friends when they visit, and keep your spirits up. Remember that pain is only temporary, the result is final.

I wish you well in your preparing for the surgery. Feel free to share this article with any of your friends who are going through or are about to go through an orthognathic surgery. If you have any enquiries regarding corrective jaw surgery, feel free to email me at hello@kairoscomms.sg and I will try my best to assist you. All the best! RW

Online Resources You Can Refer To:

Los Angeles Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery


Steffies Orthognathic Surgery Blogspot

Dr William R. McDonald Post Operative Instructions

Double Jaw Surgery Recovery Tips

My Jaw Surgery and I Blogspot

A Jaw-Dropping Experience – Week 2

Reuelwrites documents his journey to recovery after a 7-hour jaw surgery.

Day 8

Things got a lot cheerier ever since the dentist removed the rubber bands that bound my teeth together. Dentist says I can actually drink my food instead of using the syringe. Awesome. That will actually reduce my meal times from 5-10 minutes per 260ml of Ensure milk to less than 1 minute. Oh, and swelling has also completely subsided. I can finally recognise myself in the mirror.


PHOTO: dccomics.com, netflixlife.com, koreaboo.com, talknerdywithus.com

All patients who went through orthognaphic surgeries are given 1 month’s medical certificate to recover and regain their mouth function. For sanguine and extroverts, recovering from the surgery will be an extra arduous one considering the fact that he/she cannot talk and has to stay home for weeks. Fortunately for me, the introvert in me is strong and I can jolly well keep myself entertained while holed up at home catching up on episodes from my US dramas and Korean variety show.

Day 9

OMGOSH the drool. I think I’ve probably used up 2 boxes of tissues since the removal of the rubber bands. Because my lower jaw is still numb, my lips – which are perpetually in a puckering position – cannot feel the saliva that is dripping down the lips.  I’m practically a mobile drooling humanoid. I would arch my head upwards in a bid to stop myself from drooling.


GIF: giphy.com

I tried to drink water without the syringe. The result was water pouring all over. Looks like I will need more practice before attempting the ‘feat’ again. Going through this surgery has made me aware of the simple things that I used to be able to do like drinking, talking and eating. Oh definitely eating. The desire to put solid food instead of milk and soup down my throat is intensifying as the days go by. I need food. Real food.

Day 10

I have mastered the art of sleeping on my back. Well, almost. Sleeping on my right side for 26 years, it was extremely difficult to change to another position overnight. The only other time I could effortlessly sleep on my back was when I was in outfield and after surgery.

Sleeping on my back in an elevated position (double pillows) was initially to bring down the swelling. Right now, it’s just to stop myself from drooling all over the bed and because I’m afraid I might ‘accidentally dislocate’ my jaw or something. Yep, I’m paranoid like that.

Day 13


I have mastered the art of ‘ta-ing’ my drinks. Meal times are now 30 seconds. This skill could be helpful the next time I bottoms-up at a bar, except I don’t drink. More church friends came to visit. They brought the latest edition of Kinfolk (one of my fav magazines which I am very proud to say I’m probably among the first few in Singapore to adopt) and Koi’s Hazel Nut milk tea. Normally, I wouldn’t want people visiting me because of my current condition but sometimes “you need practice in letting people help you”, says Felicity in Arrow season 3 episode 19. Sunday was a good day.

Day 15

Family members came to visit. My mom shared with them about my tantrums and frustrations while recovering after the surgery. She also told them what I can eat drink, and how she would make soup for me everyday. I’m ashamed of my behaviour and at the same time touched by her gesture. Family and friend support is extremely crucial for patients who have gone through a corrective jaw surgery. Be it mental, moral and physical support.

Day 16

Back to the dentist’s for my weekly review. Dentist says everything is going fine and that I can proceed with soft diet! He also instructed me to practise pursing my lips and opening my mouth. First thought that came to my mind; scrambled eggs. Second thought that came to my mind; macaroni and cheese. Ah, my mouth is salivating. Or was it drool? Right now, it seems like I’m ‘born again’, drinking formula milk, using a baby toothbrush and having to relearn how to eat.

Day 17

Mom made scrambled eggs. I put it in my mouth and tried to bite down. Fail, mega fail. I haven’t using my teeth to chew for so long that I have ‘forgotten’ how. Plus, my lower jaw is still numb. Turns out, I’m not ready for it. One plate of scrambled eggs wasted just like that.


Mom made soft boiled eggs to cheer me up. That’s the best thing I’ve had this week.

The journey to recovery continues. RW

Surviving Jaw Surgery – Week 1

Reuelwrites documents his journey to recovery after a 7-hour jaw surgery.

On the fateful day of 20 October 2015, I went for what was to be a life-transforming orthographic (corrective jaw) surgery. First things first, did Reuelwrites get into an accident? Was his jaw dislocated by some Ah Beng or Ah Huey? Nope, none of the above! I went for the corrective double-jaw surgery to correct my bite problem.

I do want to thank my dearest mom who took great care of me during this period, even taking leave just to make sure I’m doing okay. I want to thank my dad too for the encouragement and for caring for me during this period. Going through jaw surgery is no joke and can be rather frustrating.

If you are thinking of going for one, I will be writing another blog entry to talk about jaw surgery. In it you will find the approximate surgery cost, is it claimable under insurance, how to prepare for the surgery, and things you should look out for while recovering from the surgery. Read it before you make your decision.

But why did I go for the jaw surgery?

Basically, my lower jaw is misaligned and protruded. The problem only occurred after I reach my adolescent years, save to say I had normal, aligned jaws when I was young. It also led to the ‘Open Bite’ problem where my upper and lower front teeth cannot touch each other, causing me to not be able to sink my teeth into chicken drumsticks. The problem also caused problems in my speech and enunciation.  And, there’s the facial problem where my smile and side profile is not pleasant (which honestly affected my own self-esteem one way or another). I begin preparing for the surgery since a year and a half ago by removing 7 tooth and putting on braces.

Day 1

I ‘checked in’ to the hotel hospital a day earlier. For a surgery of this severity, I was surprisingly nonchalant about the whole thing leading up to the surgery day.

PHOTO: heraldsun.com.au

But reality finally hit me that this surgery will be more than a slight ‘inconvenience’ as I stared at the two gigantic ‘flood lights’ glaring right back at me in the Operating Theatre. The anesthetist, the nurses, the surgeons and the students were all there, preparing to operate/observe on the jaw of this soon-to-be unconscious patient. But before I can let my fear get the better of me, I was out cold, compliments of the anesthetic gas.

The surgeon push forward my upper jaw with metal plating, reduce the length of my lower jaw, and gave my chin a small lift – because “guys should have a sharper chin” says the doctor.


Look at that fat face!

I was admitted to the high dependency ward after the surgery. Day 1 passed very quickly because I was in and out of consciousness. Contrary to your worst fears, I didn’t feel any pain at all because my face was practically numb all over and I was still feeling the effects of the anesthetic gas. I did however had a very uncomfortable night’s rest because of the urinal catheter. Having that up your penis (it’s a medical term ya, don’t think dirty) is like, I have the peeing sensation but I can’t pee, but I am actually peeing without me knowing. Because of the long duration of the surgery, the catheter HAD to be inserted to my private area so as to discharge the bodily fluids from my body.

Day 2

Still feeling the effects of the anesthetic gas, I was in a dizzy state. Finally they decided it’s time to remove the catheter. OMGOSH. Worst feeling ever. Nothing can describe that pain. But it was all over in less than 30 seconds. How they treat jaw surgery patients is brutal. I had to see the surgeon on the second day, do my X-ray, learn how to feed myself, all while in a half-conscious, nose-bleeding, anesthetic-induced state. My surgeon told me, “I have to be cruel to you in order to be kind to you.” Lol. The doctor also said the swelling will get worse tomorrow (48 hours after the surgery). Thanks for the heads up ya. *Die liao.

Every jaw surgery patient worldwide drinks Ensure apparently. Each can is packed with 266 calories.

Every jaw surgery patient worldwide drinks Ensure apparently. Each can is packed with 266 calories.

Your new 'fork', 'spoon' and 'knife' all rolled into one

Your new ‘fork’, ‘spoon’ and ‘knife’ all rolled into one

Welcome to your new eating style and diet. My diet for the next 1 month is mainly liquid diet, fed through the side of my mouth with a 25ml syringe. Meal times just got longer and totally unappetising. Family and friends visited but the only words I could utter out was “Mmm.. Mmm.. Mmm!” The anesthetic wore out apparently and I barely caught a wink that night.

Day 3

I was discharged. I couldn’t recognise the person I was looking at in the mirror. That must be the face of a 150 kg guy or something. My face was totally swollen. But that was the least of my worries. Who could have thought that a simple task like drinking water could be so cumbersome? I had to use the syringe to drink water and my ‘food’ which consists mainly of Ensure milk diet and any liquid that doesn’t have any pulp or bits in them.


My choice of drinks. What else taste good and is nutritious?

The worst was having to ingest the painkillers, antibiotics and panadol in liquid form. It tasted REALLY bitter. I vomited out the medicine twice. Remembering doctor’s words “Now you have to rely on your mental strength to heal fast”, I mind-**** myself and kept telling myself, the worst was over.

Apparently, my doctor did not tell me that I can apply ice and that I should sleep in an elevated position to reduce swelling – I got that off Google. I had such a difficult time falling asleep that I practically slept less than 2 hours that night. Sleeping pills didn’t have any effect either. You know you can’t sleep when you’re up at 2am googling ‘how to sleep after jaw surgery’. Turns out, orthographic surgeries aren’t rare at all. Found many (overseas) websites and blogs from other patients and surgeons on how to survive the jaw surgery. Found some comfort in that there are (were) others who are going through the same ordeal.

4am, the swelling seems to be worsening. I couldn’t take it anymore. Went to the freezer and pull out some ice to ice my swollen face. Went back to bed, managed to get maybe 45 minutes of sleep. Repeat ice-procedure at 5am.

Day 4

Sleep-deprived and feeling totally miserable. I seem to have contracted a cough which wasn’t described in the blogs. Went back to the doctors just to be sure. Doctor informed me that the irritation and pain in the throat was most probably caused by the breathing tube that they inserted through my nose, into my throat to help me breathe while they were performing the surgery.

Sleepless night persisted and the swelling got worse. This time, I managed to get about 3 hours sleep. Yay, 1 more hour.

Day 5

Nothing eventful happened today. Caught church service over live web broadcast. Managed to get 7 hours of uninterrupted rest in spite of the persistent sore throat problem. Mom made soup. I finally get to taste something salty other than Ensure milk and Ribena.


Day 6

Just when I thought everything can only get better, I had a coughing fit and had small blood clots stuck behind my teeth which I had no way of removing. Feeling miserable and wishing I didn’t do the surgery.

Day 7

Returned to the doctors. The doctor removed my rubber band!!! I’m free-r. Still can’t open and close my mouth freely. But I can now drink rather than use the syringe. Total morale boost. But it was also the start of a new problem: drooling. How can anyone drool so much? I was practically having a drool fest every minute, every second.

GIF: imgur.com

I thought about my favourite food; carrot cake, chilli crabs, curry fish head, luxuries that I can only dream about. But at least I can finally sleep through the night, amid with sore throat.

The journey to recovery continues. RW