Q: Dr. Eppley, I have some questions about my jawline implant recovery. In terms of the swelling, it has gone down dramatically and almost feels like it used to before surgery. I also finished my antibiotics, and I no longer take any advil or pain medication (just a little pain when I eat). Since I have been exercising regularly (including cardio) is it possible that the swelling goes down more rapidly then more sedentary folks?
I am looking at my reflection and it looks like the face is a bit longer and leaner looking and has a bit more prominent cheekbones and chin; however, I am already starting to think we might have wanted to go with a more projected, square chin and a bit more flaring jaws to make the face look more masculine. I will reserve final judgement until Memorial day, as you mentioned. Do you think it the shrinkwrap phase will make the face resemble the images we photo shopped as time goes on? Any thoughts about what I’m seeing currently?
A: Thank you for the early progress update. At just three weeks after surgery, it is not possible to have all of your facial swelling to be gone…maybe 70% or so but it not a complete process yet. To help you with some practical milestones, here is what you should be looking for in your jawline implant recovery:
Phase 1 – One month afer surgery – resolution of 80% of swelling, healed incisions with loss of most of the sutures, restoration of completely normal mouth opening and return too full diet, no signs of infections (most infections occur within the first month after surgery.
Phase 2 – Two months after surgery – resolution of 100% of swelling, onset of shrink wrap effect with ongoing presentation of implant definition, normal feeling of most facial areas, no signs of infection (if there is no infection by this time this possibility is very unlikely)
Phase 3 – 3 months after surgery – shrink wrap effect complete, psychological adaptation to new facial appearance complete.
As you can see by this timetable and milestones, this is an evolving process that is to fully complete until three months after surgery. You are only approaching the end of phase 1. How phase 2 and 3 will affect your perception of the result remains to be determined.
On a final note, as I have mentioned before, how the implant dimensions and the results they will create will turn out is not an exact science. We have made the best guesstimates we could with the over riding design principle that we don’t want the implants to be too big. How successful we are in that regard awaits the completion evolution of the recovery process.
Dr. Barry Eppley