Friday, February 1, 2013

Surgery

We drove to Dallas in November I had an MRI and a consult with Dr. Wolford, It was an incredibly overwhelming day. I had seen a few videos from other patients that have the same condition so I at least knew a little going into the appointment and what the surgeon might say. To be honest I can't remember everything that he told us that day because it was so much information. He basically confirmed that the oral surgeon I saw here had correctly diagnosed me with condylar resorption and that my MRI showed non salvageable jaw joints on both sides, if the disease is found early enough they can rebuild the joint but he said that it is too late for that to even be a possibility for me. Also, my airway is severely restricted since my lower jaw had receded so far back. He explained that a normal airway is 12mm and my MRI showed that my airway is 3-4mm which explains why I have such a hard time breathing. The only option I have to correct this condition is surgery.

The surgeon went thru every detail of the 9 hour surgery, yes 9 hours!!!! and as simply as I can put it Dr. Wolford and his surgery team will practice on mold of my face/jaw from a CT scan that I will have done and will do it several times prior to my actual surgery dates So they are very familiar with my specific face and bone structure. He will make an incision around both my ears and inside of my ears so I will not have any scars. The other incisions will be inside my mouth. He will cut out the diseased jaw joints on both sides and replace them with titanium joints and to cushion the artificial joint he is going to take fat from my abdomen since my body will easily accept my own rather than someone else's tissue. He will then cut my lower jaw in two segments and move it forward till its in the right position and attach it in place to my new titanium joints with metal plates. My upper jaw will also be cut into several segments and he will shave the bone down till it aligns with my lower jaw. While I am in surgery he is also going to reduce amount of tissue in my nose so I will be able to breathe again easily and not feel like I can't catch my breath. Lastly, he will insert a chin implant to give me a more symmetric profile. I will have surgical hooks placed weeks before surgery to allow enough space for him to cut into my jaw and will be banded shut after surgery for 4 weeks I believe. After surgery is over I will stay in ICU overnight and in the hospital for 4 days. After I get out of the hospital we will have to stay in Dallas for a week so that he can see me everyday and make sure I am healing ok. Then we will get to come home and I will see my orthodontist here every week and travel to Dallas once a month for a year. I will be on a liquid syringe diet for 3-4 weeks and then I should be able to have soft food for 4 months. The biggest risk of surgery is losing facial movement and numbness since he is cutting thru so many nerves and muscles I will have to learn how to open my mouth again and smiling will take many months to relearn but I fell like if I don't do this surgery now and wait till I'm 40 or 50 recovery will be much harder and honestly don't know if I could handle all my symptoms that long. I only expect them to get worse as the deterioration of my joints continue. Yeah that's a lot to take in but I am looking forward to feeling better and that makes the entire process worth it.