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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Alfi

Recovery in Custom Orthognathic Surgery vs. Traditional Orthognathic Surgery: An Amazing Analysis

Recovery after jaw surgery is a crucial aspect of the overall treatment process, as it affects the patient's postoperative comfort, functional outcomes, and quality of life. In recent years, custom orthognathic surgery has gained popularity as a specialized approach to jaw surgery, offering several advantages over traditional orthognathic surgery. In this blog post, we will compare the recovery process between custom orthognathic surgery and traditional orthognathic surgery, highlighting the key differences in terms of pain management, swelling, diet, and timeline of recovery.

Pain is a common concern for patients undergoing jaw surgery, as the procedure involves manipulation of the facial bones and soft tissues. Traditional orthognathic surgery typically requires larger incisions and extensive bone cutting, which can result in significant postoperative pain. Pain management in traditional orthognathic surgery often involves the use of narcotic pain medications, which may have potential side effects, such as nausea, constipation, and drowsiness.

On the other hand, custom orthognathic surgery utilizes advanced computer-assisted planning and 3D printing technology to create patient-specific surgical guides, which allow for precise and minimal bone cutting. As a result, patients who undergo custom orthognathic surgery typically experience less pain compared to traditional orthognathic surgery. Pain management in custom orthognathic surgery often involves the use of non-narcotic pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which may have fewer side effects and offer a quicker recovery with less reliance on strong painkillers.


Swelling is a common occurrence after jaw surgery, and it can affect the patient's appearance and comfort. Traditional orthognathic surgery typically involves larger incisions and more extensive tissue manipulation, which can result in significant swelling that may persist for several weeks or even months. Swelling in traditional orthognathic surgery may affect the patient's ability to open their mouth fully, speak, and eat normally during the early stages of recovery.

Custom orthognathic surgery often results in less swelling due to the precise nature of the surgery, which involves minimal bone cutting and tissue manipulation. The surgical times are cut down as well. What typically can be an eight hour procedure now can be done by AOS surgeons in as little as an hour! As a result, patients who undergo custom orthognathic surgery may experience reduced swelling, leading to a quicker recovery and improved comfort.


"As a result, patients who undergo custom orthognathic surgery typically experience less pain compared to traditional orthognathic surgery."

Diet modification is an important aspect of jaw surgery recovery, as the patient's ability to chew and swallow may be compromised due to pain, swelling, and limited jaw mobility. In traditional orthognathic surgery, patients are often placed on a strict liquid or soft food diet for several weeks, gradually progressing to a regular diet as the jaw heals. Often, the patients jaws are wired shut further limiting their diet. The limited diet may impact the patient's nutrition and overall well-being during the recovery period.

In custom orthognathic surgery, the precise nature of the surgery may allow for a less restrictive diet during the recovery process. Patients who undergo custom orthognathic surgery may be able to transition to a regular diet earlier, leading to improved nutrition and reduced discomfort associated with dietary restrictions. Alfi Oral Surgery, since it takes a cohesive approach to treating patients, provides a nutritionist to help patients optimize their diet during recovery.

The timeline of recovery after jaw surgery can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the surgical approach, and the individual patient's healing capacity. However, custom orthognathic surgery has been reported to offer a shorter recovery period compared to traditional orthognathic surgery. Traditional orthognathic surgery often requires a longer recovery period due to the longer surgical times, sometimes larger incisions, donor-site bone grafting, extensive bone cutting, and tissue manipulation involved. Patients may experience more postoperative discomfort, swelling, and limitations in jaw function, which can prolong the recovery process. It may take several weeks to months for patients to resume normal eating, speaking, and other daily activities.

In contrast, custom orthognathic surgery, with its precise bone cutting approach, has been reported to offer a quicker recovery timeline. Patients who undergo custom orthognathic surgery may experience less pain, swelling, and limitations in jaw function, allowing for faster healing and resumption of normal activities. Some studies have even reported that patients who undergo custom orthognathic surgery may return to their regular diet and activities within a shorter timeframe compared to traditional orthognathic surgery.

It's important to note that the recovery experience may vary for each individual, and it's crucial to follow the specific postoperative instructions provided by the oral surgeon and the healthcare team to ensure a successful recovery. If you are considering jaw surgery, it's essential to consult with a qualified oral surgeon who can assess your specific condition and recommend the most appropriate approach for your needs. A thorough discussion with your healthcare provider can help you make an informed decision and prepare for a smooth recovery after jaw surgery.

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