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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:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after surgery and stay with you.
  • Tell your surgeon about all the medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine before surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • Your surgeon and other specialists will work with you to plan the changes they will make to your face. The position of your cheekbones, jaw and teeth, and the look of your nose and lips may change.
  • You may need tests to measure your face such as x-rays, CT scans, and other scans. These tests help your surgeon plan your surgery. These tests also may be done after surgery to see the changes that were made to your face.

The night before your surgery:

You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight.

The day of your surgery:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • An IV will be put into a vein. You may get medicine or liquids through the IV.
  • You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery.
  • You may need medicine to prevent infection.


What will happen:

  • 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 may need to eat a liquid or soft diet.


  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.


  • 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.

Care Agreement

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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