Tuesday, July 26, 2011

6 Days Pre-Op: Surgery Details & My Thoughts At This Point

So today I had my final pre-operative appointment at the hospital.  This was the major one (required for any surgical procedure) during which they drew blood for testing and made sure I am in perfect health for surgery. Another purpose was to discuss any past problems with anesthesia in order to prevent further complications with the surgery. The only time I've ever been sedated before was for wisdom teeth extraction last year, and the side effects of the anesthesia then were inconsolable crying FOR NO REASON from the moment I woke up all through the car ride home.  Strangely enough, I have no recollection of this and can only recall being surprisingly relieved upon first awakening.  Nevertheless, my mom and I both are hoping the anesthetics do not trigger the same reaction this time.  I don't imagine crying would even be comfortable this time though with all the bandages and ice packs I'm going to have cocooning my swollen face...

Just in case anyone reading is unfamiliar with exactly what sorts of adjustments and maneuvers my surgeon will be executing throughout the operation (which is predicted to last around 5 hours--YIKES!--), I'm going to present a brief overview:

Surgeon: Dr. Samuel McKenna, DDS, MD ... super cool dude. Makes me feel totally at ease when I'm around him. He also has some beautiful male residents working alongside him right now. Not that I've taken notice or anything.
Location: Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Time: 10 am CST on Monday, August 1st, 2011

1. Le Fort 1 Osteotomy: Incision is made along the gums inside the upper lip. The maxilla is then moved forward and secured with plates and screws. In my case, the maxilla will be split into 3 parts in order to correct its width. I'm not 100% clear on the specifics of this; I just know the back of my upper jaw is wider than the front and it needs to be corrected in order to create a perfect bite.
2. Sagittal Split Mandibular Osteotomy: Incisions are made on both sides at the back of the mandible (lower jaw,) allowing for the removal of bone in order to set back the mandible.
This 45 second video clearly provides a general demonstration of how it all works:

My top concerns at this point:
1. Since the surgery is scheduled to last longer than 3 hours, I am required to have a urinary catheter inserted. As petty as it may seem to worry about something so routine and non-problematic, especially considering my entire mouth is being ripped open, spliced, and screwed shut, it is by far what I am most paranoid about. I just hope it's done in a private manner, because HELLOOO. My surgeon has those insanely gorgeous residents working under him currently and I'm sure they will all be observing...and how mortifying would that be...right?! But the nurse practitioner from my pre-op appointment informed me that it's inserted while I'm sedated. So maybe it will work like date rape and I will hardly remember a thing about it. Fingers crossed.

2. Having my family see me as a blimp-head afterward as well as being able to breathe with all the swelling. If you've never bothered to look up photos of people after having orthognathic surgery...just don't. Please. Though I may end up posting pictures of myself if I can vanquish my vanity for the purpose of personal expression and the thorough documentation of my journey through this blog. Or maybe I will be so doped up that I won't even care. We shall see.

3. Liquid diet afterward will last at least 3 weeks. I'm a food girl too, so this is just devastating to ponder. Naturally, most people also lose weight throughout this process, though I'm pretty sure my mom is more concerned about this than I am. Today when I was weighed at the appointment, she actually said (as she stood over my shoulder at the scale), "OH! You don't have much to lose. You haven't weighed that little in a long time." And let me tell you, this is inaccurate. I've weighed approximately what I weigh now (around 122 pounds - somewhat average for my 5'5 height) for quite a while. So apparently she's saying I look bigger than I am. Thanks, Mom.  Losing 10ish pounds would not kill me (though many patients lose even more,) but I really don't want to lose muscle mass -- and apparently that will be first to go. You just wait, I'll be down in the floor doing crunches with my ice pack still tied around my head. Hahahah kidding...maybe.

4. Missing The Bachelorette finale on Monday night. OH COME ON. I'm allowed to be completely truthful on here. JP for the win!

OKAY so this is already longer than I had anticipated. Next post will discuss all I have to look forward to after the surgery! I promise it will be less technical and more expressive than this one.

Slightly nauseated and overwhelmed,