Q&A: Recovery

This is the final post in the three part Q&A series with my oral & maxillofacial surgeon, Dr P.

I have a pre-op consultation today with my plastic & reconstructive surgeon, Dr A.  I also have a pre-op consultation tentatively scheduled with Dr P on 30 July, the day before my likely admission to hospital.


In hospital

What tubes etc will I wake up with?  Are there any I might not be aware of?

  • Arterial lines
  • Venous lines
  • Tracheostomy tube
  • Urinary Catheter line
  • Neck drains
  • Leg drains

We reserve the right to place any other lines necesary for your health and monitoring

What will you look for to determine I am able to move from ICU to my own hospital room?

Flap viability, respiratory status, general medical condition

What will you look for to determine I can have the tracheostomy removed?  How long is it usually left in?

Flap viability, respiratory status, general medical condition. Generally left in for 1-2 weeks

How is the tracheostomy removed?

The tracheostomy is removed in the ward by myself or another doctor. You will have tests done before to make sure you can breathe when we remove it. [Excellent idea.]

What will you look for to determine I can have the nasal feeding tube removed?  How long is it usually left in?

Flap viability. We will remove in 1 week if able to tolerate oral feeding.

How is the NG tube removed?

The NG tube is removed by simple back pressure on the tube. Similar to the Urinary catheter.

When will I be able to get out of bed?

We encourage ambulation to minimise complications. If you have a skin graft we also like a period of immobility of 4-8 days so the graft can become adherent to the underlying tissue. Generally bed for 4-7 days, sitting out of bed thereafter, weight bearing slowly with a frame then assisted walking over 2-4 weeks.

What will you look for to determine I am able to be discharged from hospital?

Flap viability, tissue health, general medical condition

What blood tests will I need after surgery?  What is their purpose?  How often?

Daily blood tests to determine your status of recovery or illness. Similar with ECG or chest x ray.

I have a needle phobia.  A PICC line was suggested.  What are the pros and cons?  What would I need to do to organise?

We will place the major lines while you are asleep. Pro’s are less smaller needles and the ability to hydrate you with blood or fluid as necessary. You do not need to organise anything.

UPDATE: To clear up the confusion, he means the needles will be fewer in number and smaller in size.  He has also said that the IV line they use requires a lot less injections.

At home

When will I have follow up consultations with my surgeons?   When?  What will they be looking for?

Weekly follow up for 6 weeks. We are looking for infection, non union of the jaw, mal union of the jaw. Thereafter monthly/ 3 monthly visits

Will I have follow up tests?  Which tests?  When?  What will they be looking for?

Follow up radiographs, OPG, CT. We are reviewing integration of the flap.



  1. I have been away for 5weeks and i have just caught up with your story. I can’t imagine how awful it must be for you and your family. I’m a blog friend of your mum. I have a daughter your age and the thought of something happening to her like this is unthinkable. You have been through an emotional roller coaster ride but I’m glad that it is not malignant. However, you have a bad time ahead of you and I sincerely hope you will be strong enough to endure. Allanah must be a great incentive for you to be strong. I’m sure your family is supportive too. I wish you all the best for the future.

  2. Nancy Crisco says:

    You are totally AMAZING! I’ve been having so much trouble with my feet (fibromyalgia) I’ve become tired of the sound of my complaining voice. Your outlook is great and your writing is wonderful. I was looking for articles about doppler exams and fell into your blog. So glad I did. You’ve lifted my spirits and made me ashamed of myself simultaneously! Take care of you and God bless. I’ll be following your progress and keeping you in my prayers. – Nancy in Houston

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