Orthognathic surgery may also be known as corrective jaw, or facial, surgery. Orthognathic surgery addresses conditions, or jaw deformity, that may be due to either developmental or traumatic factors and primarily aims to improve the relationship between the upper and lower jaw.
Such conditions may present as jaw overdevelopment, underdevelopment or facial asymmetry. This can sometimes contribute to problems chewing, breathing (obstructive sleep apnoea), swallowing or cause pain.
Surgery may be on the upper or lower jaw (single jaw surgery) or both jaws (bimaxillary surgery). It involves carefully placed cuts in the bone, known as an osteotomy. The most common osteotomy performed on the lower jaw is the bilateral sagittal split osteotomy. The most common on the upper jaw, is the Le Fort I osteotomy. An osteotomy moving the chin alone, is known as a genioplasty.
Orthognathic surgery is always carried out in conjunction with orthodontic treatment and is part of a treatment regime designed to achieve a balance between the cosmetic appearance of the jaws, facial bones and a functional occlusion (bite).
You will require a referral from your orthodontist whom we will liaise with throughout your treatment. At the time of consultation, a clinical examination to determine the problems you are experiencing, or may experience, as a result of your jaw deformity will be performed, along with viewing X-rays, Photographs, Dental models and any computer imaging. Dr Curtis will then discuss the diagnosis, treatment options and treatment plan.
Prior to undertaking any surgery you will be fully informed of all aspects of your treatment, including item numbers, surgical fees and risks associated with your proposed orthognathic surgery. The surgery is carried out in hospital under a general anaesthetic and involves a stay of approximately 2-5 days. All aspects of this are discussed with you before surgery. The duration of surgery and the period off work vary with the complexity of the surgery.
If you are privately insured we advise you check with your private health insurance provider if your level of cover will provide a rebate for this type of surgery. Although this surgery is not cosmetic in nature and is to correct a functional and growth abnormality, it should be covered by Medicare under the specialty of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Cosmetic cases such as ‘facial augmentation’ are not covered by Medicare rebates.