When nutrition is optimal, the body works as it should. Hormones are in balance, excess weight is kept in check, and the internal functions of the body are working like a well-oiled machine. Proper diet and nutrition are important parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating the right foods ensures that your body is receiving all of the essential nutrients you need to keep your immune system as strong as possible to fight off diseases and fight infection. At Virginia Facial Surgery, we encourage a healthy lifestyle at all times, but it is especially important to take extra care with your diet and nutrition both before and after having any kind of surgical procedure.
Not only will maintaining optimum physical health help your body heal faster after surgery, but there are also certain foods, supplements, and drugs that should be avoided altogether to avoid any surgical complications or hinder the healing process.
The single most important nutrient is water. In general, the average adult should drink six to eight glasses of fluids per day. While this amount may be increased following surgery or due to illness, fever, etc., it is a good rule of thumb. Our total calorie needs may be estimated as 15 calories per pound of body weight per day. Protein needs may further increase following surgery as well, to promote healing. Following illness or surgical procedures, our nutrient needs are increased in order to facilitate healing. For facial cosmetic and oral surgery patients this need may be particularly challenging for several reasons. The presence of surgical incisions in or around the face, neck and mouth and postoperative swelling may make it more difficult to chew and swallow normally. Additionally, the type of surgical procedure may further necessitate a diet limited in consistency. These factors, in combination with the increased nutrient needs following surgery, mean it may be difficult to ensure that you are well nourished following your surgery.
Nutrition for Facial Cosmetic, TMJ and Corrective Jaw Surgery.
Immediately following surgery, swelling may make it difficult to consume any solid foods for a period of time. For facial cosmetic surgery patients, this may be for about 24 hours. For jaw and TMJ surgery, this may be for a few days to a week. During this period, all nutrition will be consumed in liquid form; a challenge given an adult patient’s daily nutrition needs.
Since fluids remain the most important nutrient, particular care should be directed towards ensuring that you get your 6 to 8 glasses of fluids per day. Meeting the caloric needs may also be challenging during this phase. Liquid nutritional supplements are a great option and are readily available, which, because of their high caloric density and balance of protein, calories and vitamins, will help you meet your goals. Supplements such as Boost, Ensure and the like can be purchased at any supermarket or pharmacy. They can be further augmented with shakes or smoothies containing fruit, protein powders or other additives. Facial cosmetic surgery patients can return to a normal diet usually within 24 hours of their procedure.
For jaw surgery patients, Following this brief dependence on liquids, it is likely that a semi-solid, ‘non-chewing’ diet will be recommended, followed later by a ‘fractured jaw’ diet. This diet should be of a consistency that can be consumed without biting or chewing. Many of your regular dietary choices are likely available to you, such as soft scrambled eggs, boiled vegetables, well-cooked pasta, etc. Remember, it is most important to avoid stressing the surgery sites until healing has progressed. This non-chewing diet should be maintained until Dr. Mueller specifically allows you to advance to a normal diet. This may be 3 to 6 weeks following surgery.
Prior To and After Surgery…
Here is a list of things to do in the weeks before and after surgery to ensure optimum physical health. These practices will help your body supply the proper nutrients to promote blood clotting, healing, and avoid inflammation or other complications:
- Avoid herbal supplements
- Do not take any aspirin for at least two weeks
- Do not eat or drink anything 8 hours prior to surgery
- Drink at least 64 oz. of water per day
- Eat small, frequent meals about every 3-5 hours
- Do not skip meals
- Be sure each meal contains low amounts of fat, salt, and sugar
- Do not eat more protein than would fit in the palm of your hand
- ALWAYS consult your physician with any questions or areas of uncertainty you may have.
- Each meal should contain low sugar carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables, with small amounts of lean protein and monosaturated fat