Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tips for Preparing for MMA or Orthognathic Surgery

People keep asking me for recommendations prior to surgery. So here they are, for everyone to read. I was on a serious pre surgical vitamin and nutrient regimen before surgery. I'm convinced that it has made all the difference in the world with my healing. I had SARPE (surgically assisted rapid palate expansion in March 2006. I had a hard time healing, and kept getting numerous sinus infections. It was a long journey and didn't get full feeling back for almost 15 months. This surgery, while far more involved has been sooooo much better in terms of my recovery. Now part of it that I'm sure is due to my body catching up on the sleep deficit, but that really didn't start happening til almost a month post op.

Here is what I took, and where I bought it. All of these are in capsule form so that I could easily add them to shakes or smoothies post surgery.

Vitamins and Supplements

BioEnhance Multinutrient formula - 2 Capsules 3 time daily (6 total)

Rainbow Light Food based Calcium 500mg (purchased at Fred Meyers) (1 caplet daily) magnesium 250mg, vitamin D3 200IU, other ingredients - Stinging nettle 20mg, horsetail 20mg, spirulina 20mg.

Vitamin C - Emergen C packets - 1000mg vitamin + B vitamins and 32 mineral complexes, and 7 mineral ascorbates ( Take at least 2 a day, I take 3 packets a day)
(Can be purchased as most local grocery stores raspberry flavor is best)

Vitamin A - 10,000 IU (1 capsules a day)
(Purchased at Fred Meyer)

Vital Nutrients B12 and Folic acid - B12 -1000mcg, Folic Acid - 800mcg (1 capsule per day)

Natures Life Zinc (picolonate) 30mg (1 capsule daily)

VitaMedica Arnica Montana & Bromelain Kit (with Quercetin)

I started all of these (except the bromelain and arnica) 2 months before surgery. I stopped them 5 days before to prevent any issues during surgery. Immediately following surgery (when I came home the next day) I began taking all of these again and would open the capsules and blend them into my smoothies. I also took Bromelain 3 times a day for the swelling, which I believe helped tremendously! I stopped taking the zinc, and A at 8 weeks, but still (at 3 months post op) take the B12, vitamin C, multi vitamins, and a calcium supplement daily now.

I also began working about before surgery. I wanted to try and get into shape a bit before surgery, figured it could only help me.

I already eat pretty well, but during my post op recovery I did what I could to try and eat only organic. I used only organic fruit, cottage cheese, vegetables, broths, meats, etc. You name it I had it.

Now obviously this is a lot of stuff to do, I knew quite a bit ahead of time when my surgery was going to be and made the committment to really try and make this one better then the first.

I bought a Magic bullet blender and highly recommend purchasing one. I love that thing, it rocks. I use it everyday still and make a high protein smoothie for breakfast. It has two blades one for chopping meat and one for making smoothies. It was phenomenal for grinding up meat to add to soup, or scrambled eggs, or even making meat mash just to eat with a spoon. I was able to get a ton of protein into me post surgery, which I think was key in helping me heal quickly, I also was never weak or physically exhausted as I was able to take in a lot of food pretty painlessly.

I used the Zip and Squeeze bags with the tubes attached. They were great the first few days. Didn't have to do any work, just fill them up and squeeze the food in. It was a big relief the first week when things were rocky. Also, if you order the bags get one of the jaw bras too. They are soft, far more comfortable then the hospital ones, and come with interchangeable ice packs so you can keep a constant supply of ice on your face during those first 489 hours post op. I had my husband bring mine to the hospital and asked the nurse to keep the extra packs in the freezer. The solid packs stay frozen way longer then the crushed ice they give you in the hospital and the jaw bra doesn't push up on your already sore mouth like the other kinds do. The link for the website is on my main blog.

Chapstick is a must, I mostly used vaseline in the beginning as my lips were just really sore and torn up. Even after they healed though, I found the chapstick seemed to help with keeping my pretty numb lower lip from getting cold. Also my lips seemed to feel really dry so the chapstick helped a lot with "feelings" of dryness. Oh...and be sure and bring a tube to the hospital with you! This was the one thing I forgot and the only thing I really wanted. Thank goodness my darling husband had a tube.

q-tips dipped in saline are great for cleaning out the gunk in your nose. Gross I know, but they do work. Saline nasal spray can also help with the congestion.

A baby toothbrush is important to have. For the first couple of weeks it will be very hard to even part your lips for brushing, and everything is sore and tender. The baby toothbruss is soft but does get your teeth clean, and it is small so you can get it back to the molars when your mouth is swollen up like a puffer fish! LOL.

Loose fitting clothing like lounge pants, and loose t-shirts are nice for those first few days when you are pretty much lounging around the house.

Something to use as a bib when you eat, or drink. Can be a hand towel tucked into your collar or a real baby bib. The first few days you will be like a baby when you eat. Drooling, and not being able to control things very well. Unless you want to change clothes a million times a day, I highly recommend you have something in place before you begin your daily feedings.

Liquid pain meds, for the first few days. I used baby tylenol because I hated the roxicet the doctor gave me. It doesn't taste the greatest but works and is far easier then getting a pill into you. Later, you can use a pill crusher, or you may be able to just swallow them.

Lots of pillows, blankets and a comfy chair or recliner. You will need to sleep upright for at least a week ( I did three.) I spent $50.00 on a bed wedge (don't waste your money) they are uncomfortable and you keep sliding off of them! I used mine maybe 3 times and that was it. A good chair is your best bet as you will be spending a lot of time in it for the first couple weeks at least.

Movies or reading materials that you like. T.V gets old pretty fast!

Start exercising, even a little bit as soon as you feel comfortable. It can help with pain management, plus it is good for your body to get some exercise. It also helps with fluid migration, and your circulation, all of which can help with the reduction of swelling. I walked around my neighborhood for about 30 minutes at the end of the first week. By two weeks I was up to 60 minutes. I think it helped speed my recovery along quite a bit!

Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve? I had all three and used all three. I found that after awhile one would stop working as well, so I would switch to something else for a day or two then switch back.

Take lots of pictures! Seeing daily or weekly pics can do a lot for keeping you positive. You will notice the little changes taking place and not be so focused on what is NOT happening yet.

I made heat packs out of rice and swear by these things. They helped tremendously with the achy pain I would experience, and just made my face feel so much better. I used the medium cloth gift bags, but soft socks work just as well. Put about a cup to 1.5 cups of regular white rice in a sock. Tie it off but leave room for the rice to move so it can mold to your chin, cheeks, etc. Then microwave them for about 1 -2 minutes or until they are as warm, or hot as you want them. The first few times you microwave them they will feel quite moist and the rice will feel a bit sticky. This is just the moisture coming out of the rice and after about 5 times microwaving them they will be very dry and moldable. These were the only thing that helped my jaw joint pain at night. I would get up, zap em, crawl back into my chair and put them on. Then fall back to sleep. They really were a life saver!

Pen and paper for writing notes, or a dry erase white board with markers. I used this to talk to my husband right out of surgery. Was so much easier.

I will add other stuff as it comes to mind but I hope this helps those of you getting ready for this surgery. The more you can prepare your body and help strengthen it before surgery, the more it will benefit you during the surgery, and healing process. Preparation is everything!