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Le Fort Osteotomy


Le Fort osteotomy is surgery to break and move bones in your face. There are 3 types of Le Fort surgery. Each type of surgery moves different bones in your face. During Le Fort I surgery, your maxillary bone (area just above your upper teeth) is fractured. During Le Fort II surgery, fractures are made above your nose and in your upper jaw. During Le Fort III surgery, fractures are made through your cheekbones and the bones around your eyes.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV will be placed into a vein. You may be given liquid or medicine through the IV.
  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
  • Antibiotics may be given to help prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

During your surgery:

  • You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision in your mouth above your top row of teeth. Other cuts may be made in the area of your eyelids or hairline, depending on the type of Le Fort surgery you need. Your face bones will be broken and moved. Metal pates and screws will hold the bones in the correct position.
  • Your surgeon may place tiny pieces of bone in your face. These bone pieces are taken from other places in your body. This process, called bone grafting, will help hold your bones in place and help with healing. Other surgeries may be done at the same time as your Le Fort surgery to change the look of your face. These surgeries may change the shape of your nose, lower jaw, or chin.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to your room once you are fully awake. Do not get out of bed until your surgeon says it is okay. Depending on your surgery, you may have devices attached to your head. Your upper and lower jaw may be joined together using elastic bands or wires. You may not be able to open your mouth after surgery.

  • You will be able to eat and drink slowly after surgery. You will begin with ice chips or clear liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then eat soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. You may be able to eat only soft foods or liquids for a time after surgery. Your surgeon will tell you when you can eat your usual foods.
  • Medicines may be given to relieve pain or to prevent an infection.


  • You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Metal plates and screws placed during surgery could become loose, move, or cause an infection. If an infection occurs, you may need another surgery to correct the problem. You may feel the hardware through your skin. Your bones may not heal well, and may move back to the way they were before surgery.
  • You may not look the way you expected after Le Fort surgery. Changes in your face can continue for up to 1 year after surgery. The movement of your face bones may change the shape of your nose or lips. Your bones may break in a different place than expected. Your teeth could be damaged, or you could have problems using your teeth.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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