Corrective Jaw Surgery (Orthognathic Surgery)

Corrective Jaw Surgery

As the name suggests corrective jaw surgery is surgery to improve the relationship between the upper and lower jaws. The underlying problem may be developmental or it may be the result of trauma. Surgery may be undertaken on either the upper or lower (single jaw surgery) or both jaws may be operated on (bimaxillary surgery). The surgery involves carefully placed cuts in the bone, this is known as an osteotomy. The most common osteotomy performed on the lower jaw is the bilateral sagittal split osteotomy, the most common osteotomy on the upper jaw is the Le Fort I osteotomy. An osteotomy moving the chin alone is known as a genioplasty.

Generally corrective jaw surgery involves orthodontic treatment both before and after the surgery, this is usually undertaken by an orthodontist. Usually when someone has a jaw discrepancy the teeth in the jaws are also in the wrong position in that jaw. The orthodontist moves the teeth into the correct position in each jaw and the jaw or jaws are moved at the time of surgery into their correct relationship to each other.

As with any surgery of this nature a thorough examination and history is taken and investigations performed. The nature of the surgery and the risks and benefits of the surgery are discussed. The patient then makes informed consent as to whether or not to have the surgery. This sort of surgery is carried out as an inpatient under general anaesthesia.