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Post Orthognathic Surgery Diet & Nutrition

Nutrition after surgery

Importance of nutrition after Orthognathic Surgery

After surgery, your body requires more energy and proteins to help in your recovery. In particular, a diet rich in protein is recommended. Foods that are rich in protein include:

Importance of adequate hydration after surgery

Fluids are an important part of your diet. Dehydration can result in issues such as headaches, dizziness, fever, constipation and can be associated with urinary tract infections and kidney stone formation.

Ensure you are well hydrated as it aids in your recovery. The recommended daily water intake is 1500-2000ml or 4-5 syringes per hour when awake.

As fluids may fill you up easily, it is advisable to plan your fluid intake for the day by :

  • Distributing fluid intake evenly thoroughout the day
  • Ensuring you have fluids apart from meals   

Avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol.

Post-Orthognathic Surgery diet

A: What can you eat after the surgery?

After surgery, you will need to modify your diet progressively over the next few months. This will allow for your jaw bones to heal.

​ ​ ​ ​
Full liquid diet
• Post-operation day 1 to week 2
• Duration of 2 weeks
Pureed diet
• Post-operation week 3 to post-operation week 6
• Duration of 4 weeks​
Soft diet
• Post-operation week 7 to 12
• Duration of 6 weeks
Diet of choice
• Post-operation week 13 onwards
• Continue to avoid hard foods till 6 months post-operation





B: Full liquid diet

In the immediate post-operative phase, you will begin with a full liquid diet as your upper and lower teeth are tied together. This may last for the first two weeks after surgery. During this period, you will rely solely on liquids for your dietary requirements.

During your hospital stay, you will be started on a liquid diet by your doctor. Feeding yourself can be accomplished with the syringes and tubes provided as mentioned earlier. Do feel free to highlight any questions/ difficulties you may have with feeding yourself to the surgical team.

What can be included in a full liquid diet?

​Fluids/ foods that are:
• Liquids
• Runny and smooth in consistency
• Have no lumps
• Have no sediments
• Require no chewing
• Can be swallowed easily
​Examples include:
• Water
• Coffee/ tea
• Fruit juice
• Milk/ milkshakes
• Strained soups
• Soy milk
• Milo
• Oral Nutritional Supplements


What are Oral Nutritional Supplements?
Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) are nutritional beverages that are available as either milk-based or juice-based in a variety of flavours. These beverages are high in calories and protein which are important to help you meet your increased nutritional needs after surgery.

Most of the supplements are nutritionally complete as they contain all three macronutrients and have added vitamins and minerals. You can take ONS on their own or with other beverages such as coffee/ tea. They can be taken iced or warmed as well.

Depending on your nutritional needs and preferences, your dietician will advise you on the appropriate type and quantity of ONS that is suitable for you.

C: Pureed diet

When your jaw elastics are removed and your surgeon is satisfied with your bite, you progress to a pureed diet.
This consists of foods pureed or blended into a smooth and homogenous consistency. This allows the food to be swallowed easily without the need to chew.

It is important that you are eating the correct texture, type and amount of food to aid your healing and nutritional needs.

You require a variety of foods each day and must ensure that food from all food groups is consumed so that you are receiving adequate nutrition. A selection of pureed foods from each food group will ensure nutritional balance necessary for good health.

A food blender/ processor is useful to blend food items. Many everyday foods can be blended to achieve a suitable pureed texture.

Examples of pureed foods:

​1) Rice and alternatives
a. Pureed rice porridge/ mee sua/ bee hoon etc.
b. Mashed potato/ sweet potato/ yam etc.
c. Oats/ cereal powder (brown rice powder, baby rice cereal powder, mixed grains powder etc.)
​2) Meat and alternatives
a. Pureed meat/ fish/ poultry/ eggs etc.
b. Pureed dhal/ beans/ lentils etc.
c. Siken tofu etc.
d. Milk, yoghurt without fruit bits
​3) Fruits
a. Pureed banana/ papaya/ avocado/ mango/ canned peaches etc.
​4) Vegetables
a. Pureed pumpkin/ carrot/ all other leafy vegetables (varies in colours)


Tips on preparing pureed food:

  • Prepare one food item at a time. If different foods are blended together, foods may lose their natural colours and become less appealing.
  • Cutting foods into smaller pieces prior to blending is important to ensure that they are blended evenly.
  • If food is thrown beyond the cutting edge of the blade, stop the motor andpush the food back with a spatula/ fork. Continue blending until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  • Some foods may be prepared into a pureed and smooth consistency bymashing with a fork (e.g. mashed potatoes/ pumpkins/ carrots/ sweet potatoes).
  • Avoid foods that do not puree easily:
    • Stringy foods such as green beans and celery.
    • Crunchy foods such as nuts.
    • Skins, seeds and husks (e.g. peas, corn, breads with seeds, fruits with skin/ seeds).
    • Chewy foods (e.g. glutinous rice balls).

Increasing the nutritional value of pureed meals:

  • Cooking food with plenty of oil or margarine before blending.
  • Sugar, seedless jam, syrup/ honey can be added to oats/ milk/ other drinks.
  • Use of full fat products such as milk, yoghurts when preparing milkshakes.
  • Smooth peanut butter can be added to blended oats.
  • Adding oil such as sesame oil to porridge, soup and vegetable dishes.
  • Including protein rich foods in all meals (e.g. pureed fish, steam eggs and tofu).
  • Add milk/ cheese to scrambled eggs, then blend them.
  • Prepare a milkshake with ONS, enriched milk (made with milk powder added to fresh milk) and plain ice cream.
  • Have sweetened beverages instead of plain water.
    Adding milk/ cream to oats, drinks and pudding.

D: Soft diet

Your doctor may progress you to a soft diet when sufficient healing has occurred and you are able to open and chew comfortably. Do start with soft and moist foods, with dishes minced or chopped up.