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Face Changes After Jaw Surgery

My cheekbones are far more prominent than they used to be.

My cheekbones are far more prominent than they used to be.

A reader named Jen recently asked about changes to my nose after my upper jaw surgery.

Did my nose get wider and flatter? Did anything change with my cheeks?

There are plenty of photos all over this blog, so taking a look through those will let you form your own opinion. The photo here was taken a couple of days ago, so about seven weeks after jaw surgery. You can see that my cheekbones are more prominent overall, and how the middle of my face is more raised than flattened.

In my own opinion, the answer is that my nose and cheeks changed dramatically, but I love the change. Before jaw surgery, I also worried that my nose would look wider and rounder after the surgery. But, it just didn’t happen that way, and I’m 100% pleased with how everything turned out. The best way for me to describe the overall change to my nose and cheeks is that there’s just more ‘dimension.’ My nose is FAR LESS flat than it used to be, and not any wider as far as I can tell. My cheekbones are much more prominent-looking than before.

Overall, there’s much more harmony in my facial structure – because this is the healthy way for my face bones to relate to one another. Don’t forget that bite problems are medically known as “skeletal deformities.” An expert correction of a deformity is bound to result in greater facial harmony, so don’t sweat it, and trust that you will look fabulous! (Don’t forget you’ll still have braces, so you won’t look THAT fabulous…yet.)

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Lorna Faue March 12, 2009, 5:44 pm

    Did it take a little while for the “new” nose to blend in with your face. I don’t know if I worded that properly. Basically, eventually, does it all look right after the swelling goes down?

  • susanfsu March 12, 2009, 5:49 pm

    Hi Lorna,

    I hope so!

    You can check out more recent posts for photos. My “About Susan” page is also updated with my latest photo… I think.

    You’re asking a good question – how does facial harmony play out when the marked cheek and upper jaw swelling goes away?

    The most important point to note is that, once swelling has diminished, any differences from pre-op to post-op are minimized. For example, I looked REALLY different at first. Now, less so. My face now more resembles my pre-op look, only improved. I’m more recognizable, in short.

    I encourage you to check out the pictures, and I’ll try to post more soon!


  • Lorna Faue March 12, 2009, 6:01 pm


    Thanks. I feel better. It takes a while to get used to the changes. I will look at your photos.


  • Nate Huber May 13, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Hello! I was hoping you could answer a couple questions for me.

    How many millimeters did you advance your upper jaw? I’m trying to get a good idea of what amount will or will not make noticeable facial appearance differences. Do you have any input?

    Also, I know there is a way that doctors can keep the nose from widening during surgery. Did you have whatever this may be to ensure no widening of your nose?

    Thanks! Look forward to your response.

  • Susan May 13, 2013, 5:46 pm

    Hi Nate!

    Mine was 3 mm, but your surgeon should definitely have good input on that.

    Basically, it should be the absolute minimal possible. And by the way, 3 mm may look like a tiny amount but it makes a huge difference in your appearance. Therefore, it’s important that it not be overdone, as you would not want to end up looking like a crazy cartoon.

    I don’t think there’s a way to ‘keep’ the nose from widening. The nose isn’t widening, it is simply being raised on its platform (your upper jaw) and no longer sitting on a depressed surface.

    Overall, I’m totally 100000% happy with the facial harmony I have achieved through jaw surgery. It’s impossible to pinpoint one single change and say “I want that” (more prominent cheekbones) or “I don’t want that” (a higher nose), because it’s all part of the full package of facial harmony.

    Let me know if that helps! Happy to answer any other questions :)


  • Nathan Huber May 16, 2013, 1:00 am

    Hey Susan, thanks for the response!

    First off, that’s great you are so happy with your results! No 3 millimeteres doesn’t sound like a lot, but I have read how big of a difference it can make! In my case I have an obviously sunken mid-face and receding chin. I can’t see your pictures. Did you have a sunken mid-face prior to surgery as well?

    Was your procedure covered by insurance? I am trying to learn the best way to approach insurance companies about jaw surgery.

    Thanks again for answering my questions!


  • Susan May 16, 2013, 3:15 am

    Hi Nate,

    I’ve been having some hosting / Wordpress issues, so my pictures are not displaying (let me know if you know of an expert who can help!), but to answer your question, I would not say that I had a “sunken” mid-face, but that it was slightly lower. I will work on a new pictures post this week — those should answer your questions!

    My procedure was partially covered by insurance. I had go PPO through Cigna, and it was an “elective surgery.”

    In the end, it was definitely expensive, but I felt it was worth it.


  • Nathan Huber May 16, 2013, 6:29 pm

    I see. I will certainly let you know if anyone can help. What do you mean your face was slightly lower? Long-face syndrome?

    Exactly! You’re picture is small, but you look young; so you know what I mean. I’m 21. I am willing to pay whatever is needed to fix this. What was your chief complaint to your insurance company?

  • Nathan Huber May 16, 2013, 7:51 pm

    Do you think you could also give me your e-mail so we can keep in touch? And maybe you could send me the pictures through e-mail too.

  • Nana June 10, 2013, 12:01 am

    Hey ! I want to ask you., how long did it takes for your swell to subside??
    I had my lower jaw surgery about 3 months ago, my nose didn’t look weird after the surgery but its my face that looks weird… It became a lot bigger( more of a round shape face ). My orthodontist told me that it shouldn’t be because of my jaw protruding out, so I’m not sure if its due to the swell or it just my face fats.. Was feeling quite disappointed to see that it doesn’t look as good as what I thought it would be..

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