I had upper jaw surgery 10 days ago, and I am sailing through the recovery quite easily. I must be lucky. But I am not as happy about the outcome as I had expected: I still have zero tooth show. In fact, I'm very upset, as I'm trying to understand why that happened. Sure, I'm still swollen, but not by much, and my upper lip likely won't contract much anymore.
To give you a bit of background: 38 y.o, mild underbite -3mm, a bit of cross bite, and a short upper jaw that showed no tooth at rest and 50% teeth at posed smile.
We all agreed that I only needed upper jaw surgery to move the maxilla 5mm forward, and downward. I have a rather narrow upper jaw, and a proper bite with the lower one allows the maxilla to move from -3mm to +2mm only. At +2mm now, it merely goes over the lower teeth a tad, less than ideal but okay.
When it comes to the downward move of the upper jaw, they measured it pre-op at -3mm. As a result, they planned to move it down 5mm to give me +2mm tooth show. My measurement was -5mm, but that somehow got brushed over during conversations, because partly I trusted their professional opinion, partly I focused more on the resulting tooth show of 2mm-3mm and counted on them to do the right math to get me there. The chief resident took the measurement and I expected he knew what he was doing.
Before the surgery I read quite a bit about the ideal tooth show at rest/smile, the risk of relapse, and the aging effect, the effect of braces, and insisted on having +4mm post-op (i.e. with braces on). They yielded and proposed 3mm. My biggest regret now is that I didn't press them on how they'd get there, I could've got to the difference between their measurement and mine.
So the lesson is, don't assume they know everything, be inquisitive about the surgery plan and why. Even though they keep saying that they can't be sure about the shift of soft tissues, if your moves are small and simple then the math should add up.
Otherwise, my recovery has been surprisingly easy: one day at the hospital, off the pain medication 2 days after that, was able to drive the next day, and 50% of the swelling is gone within the first 10 days. No strange change of the nose. I only have a stretch mark and a lump on the left cheek which is the salivary lymph node being irritated.