POST OP FACIAL FRACTURE CARE
The following information has been prepared to help answer your questions regarding post-‐operative fracture care as well as to offer suggestions that will assist you in making the whole experience easier. It needs to be emphasized that, if you have any problems post-‐operatively that you cannot manage or don’t fully understand, you should contact Dr. Patel as soon as possible.
You will be given a pain control medication to manage any significant pain you might have. Often you will be able to control most discomfort by using “over the counter” pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.)
Significant facial swelling should be anticipating following your oral surgery. Generally it will decrease within one week to the point where it will not be noticeable to anyone but yourself, family and possibly close acquaintances. During your surgery, steps are taken to minimize the swelling. The head of your bed should be kept elevated after surgery and this position should be maintained while you are lying down for about 10 days. It is generally easier for you to bend your mattress by placing something solid under the “head” of the mattress instead of trying to sleep upright with pillows.
Ice packs will be placed on each side of your face as you awake from surgery. These are reusable and you will need to use ice packs for the next few days. After the second day, they generally will not be of any value in controlling the swelling but some people like them for comfort. Mild heat to your face can be started after the fifth day and this will assist in resolving the swelling. A heating pad or warm wash cloth can be used at 20-‐30 minute intervals for this purpose.
Every attempt will be made to minimize the chance of nausea. The two most common causes of nausea are either swallowing some blood after surgery or the use of a narcotic pain medication. If you start having any feeling of nausea, you can decrease the chances of problems if you follow some simple rules.
- Stay down – movement, especially walking around, will increase the likelihood of nausea.
- Drink clear fluids or possibly lightly carbonated beverages such as “Seven-‐ Up”.
- Stop taking any narcotic pain medications and try using “over the counter” medications.
If there is no relief, call Dr. Patel as soon as possible.
A small amount of post-‐operative bleeding is to be expected from surgery. This generally is minimal and stops quickly. However, if you are concerned about it, try using an icepack placed with mild pressure, on your face, over the area of the bleeding, and this will generally control the bleeding. Persistent bleeding rarely occurs but if it does, it should be reported quickly to Dr. Patel.
You should attempt to drink liquids the first few days. While this is sometimes difficult, this early effort will help speed your recovery. Generally, your diet during the first few days, while the swelling is at its worst, will be limited to liquids and very soft foods (consistency of applesauce). Then as swelling diminishes, firmer foods, such as pasta, bread or rice, can be attempted. Hard foods, the consistency of raw carrots or a whole apple, should be avoided until Dr. Patel approves. It is most important, whether you are taking liquid or soft diet, that the meals are nutritionally well balanced. Dietary information is available from our office.
Proper oral hygiene after surgery is very important to assure the easiest possible post-‐operative experience. Not only will you decrease the chance of an infection, but more importantly, it helps you to feel better. Brushing your teeth often after surgery is the best way of maintaining a clean mouth. As can be expected, this will be difficult with the swelling that occurs. You will be given a small “child’s toothbrush on your first visit back to our office which will make this type of oral hygiene easier. Rinsing your mouth after eating any food will also be of tremendous benefit. Although the mechanical action of rinsing is effective, using hydrogen peroxide
diluted with warm water is most helpful. Pressured oral rinsing systems such as “Water Pik” should not be used until at least two weeks after surgery. Even then, the pressure setting should be kept at the lower possible and care should be used to insure the water is directed only at the teeth.
The sooner you return to normal activities, the more rapid will be your recovery. The recovery from surgery and accompanying anesthesia can deplete your energy and increased bed rest may be necessary. However, staying in bed all day simply delays your recovery and many times results in an inability to sleep at night. Short walks to other mild activity during the first few days post-‐operatively, will commonly be of great benefit. As your strength returns, increase your activity toward your normal level. The only activity restriction we recommend is contact sports, those in which there is a risk of hitting your face with any significant force, not be attempted for at least 10 weeks after surgery.
REMEMBER – IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR POST-‐OPERATIVE COURSE, PLEASE CALL Dr. Patel AT (404) 907-2117.