Jaw Surgery (Orthognathic Surgery)

Reconstructive and Corrective Procedures

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Jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) may be an option if you have a severe overbite, underbite, or crossbite. Jaw surgery may also be appropriate to treat teeth misalignment (malocclusion), chronic jaw pain, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) ankylosis (jaw bones fused in your joint), and jaw problems related to facial trauma, deformity, and disease. Your treatment plan may significantly reduce pain or difficulty with chewing, swallowing, speaking, sleeping, and breathing. It can also improve related problems such as headaches and sleep apnea.

Corrective jaw surgery may successfully treat a protruding jaw (prognathism), severely receded or "weak" chin (retrognathia), or unbalanced facial features. Jaw surgery can result in a more balanced and attractive facial appearance. 

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Consultation and Examination

We discuss your reasons for pursuing corrective jaw surgery, your desired outcome, and expected results. We conduct a thorough medical history, including your family history, general health status, previous operations, and any medications you may be taking.  We examine your features and take photographs for your medical record. (Photographs may be needed for insurance purposes.) Finally, we recommend a course of treatment that meets your needs. We discuss the potential risks and complications and your post-operation recovery.

Blood Tests

Before surgery, your doctors may require several blood tests to measure your liver and kidney function, and to determine if you have any infection, a blood disorder, or anemia that may have gone undetected.

Virtual Surgical Planning

Planning your corrective jaw surgery down to the millimeter is of the utmost importance. Oftentimes, your work-up for surgery will include a high-resolution CT scan or cone beam CT scan (CBCT) which allows your surgeon, orthodontist, and biomedical engineers to plan your surgery and review 3D projections with you before your surgery.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.



Braces may be used before surgery to align your teeth and may remain on your teeth for nine to 18 months. They may also be used to maintain teeth positioning after jaw surgery.

Upper Jaw Surgery

Bone above your teeth is either shaved or cut and moved to realign your jaw and teeth. The incision is made inside your mouth, leaving no external scars. Screws and plates hold the bone in its new position. Recovery takes several weeks and requires a liquid or soft diet. Usually, your jaw does not need to be wired shut.

Lower Jaw Surgery

Bone behind your molars is cut, and the front of the jaw is moved to its new position as one unit. The incisions are made inside your mouth, leaving no external scars. Screws hold the jawbone in its new position as it heals. Recovery takes several weeks and requires a liquid or soft diet. Usually, your jaw does not need to be wired shut.

Chin Surgery (Genioplasty)

The chin bone is cut and slid forward or backward or shortened to improve your facial appearance. The incision is made inside your mouth, leaving no external scar. The bone is held in its new position with a small metal plate and screws. This is often performed at the same time as jaw surgery. Recovery takes several weeks. 

Double Jaw and Triple Jaw Surgery

These are combination surgeries. Double jaw surgery refers to upper and lower jaw surgery being performed simultaneously. Triple jaw surgery includes chin surgery as well. It can be beneficial for multiple surgeries to be performed at the same time if you have a history of severe facial trauma, obstructive sleep apnea, and certain craniofacial syndromes. It may also be beneficial if you have asymmetries of your jaw and facial bones.

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Why Choose Duke

Surgical Expertise in the Mouth, Jaw, and Face 
Our plastic and reconstructive surgeons undergo advanced training in surgical procedures of the head, neck, jaws, and face (often referred to as the maxillofacial region). Our expert team includes plastic surgeons (also known as craniofacial surgeons), oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and orthodontists.

Respected Surgeons
Our plastic surgeons share their experience by teaching advanced reconstructive techniques to doctors across the country and around the world. Our combined skill and leadership means you work with some of the most knowledgeable and experienced plastic and reconstructive surgeons in the U.S.

Personalized Treatment Recommendations
​After an extensive consultation and careful evaluation, we recommend which type of procedure, or combination of procedures, is most likely to deliver the results you want.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 10 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.

This page was medically reviewed on 10/20/2023 by