Need Recipes for Post Jaw Surgery

Updated on March 17, 2010
K.H. asks from Rockford, MI
12 answers

I am having jaw surgery in 9 days and will be rubberbanded shut for 8-10 weeks. Does anyone have any good recipes that will go through a tube & syringe? I don't want to live on Ensure for 8 weeks!

Also, I will not be able to talk much and will be difficult to understand. How do I communicate with my kids (4 & 2) as I am a stay-at-home-mom? They know the basics of sign language, but there is still going to be difficulties. Any suggestions?

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answers from Jackson on

You can blenderize just about anything :-D.

You can do smoothies...mix fresh fruit, yogurt or tofu together in a blender.

You can even do Green smoothies using fresh greens (spinach and strawberry is pretty don't even taste the spinach)

Smooth soups.

It's really important that you get A LOT of protien. Protien is essential for healing.

As for communicating with your kids. I have an Autistic son and we use something called "PECS" to help communicate.

It is small pictures of everyday activities, foods, tasks, etc. You can also take pictures of their their shoes, or their toothbrush, bed, the car, etc.

So Say you need to leave.

Show them a picture of their shoes, and point to their feet. Idealy they would go put their shoes on. Then show them a picture of the car and point for them to go. They should go out to the car....

You'll probably have to practice a little bit before the surgery so they know what you mean when you show them a picture. But this is the easiest form of communication I can think of.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I would try fruit smoothies, milk shakes, soups and that sort of thing. You can buy protein powder to mix in that will add nutrition. I would also add some fiber, like Benefiber to it as well since pain medicines can cause constipation. Get yourself a dry erase board to help communicate. Good Luck



answers from Grand Rapids on

When my uncle broke his jaw he had his jaw wired (or maybe it was rubber bands I don't remember) he just put what everyone else was eating through a blender and then sucked it up a straw. He probably put the whole meal in at once, but you could do each individual item in separate glasses. He was able to suck through a straw, so it would go faster. It seems like I remember him adding a little bit of water or milk to it to get it to blend up smooth and liquid, versus pasty.

As far as talking goes, try putting your teeth together and talk. I think you will find that you can be easily understood. I remember my Uncle talking perfectly normal, even though his teeth didn't move. My mom and I just experimented with it (with me calling my 5 year old) and she came without knowing what was going on. You'll probably more than fine.



answers from Saginaw on

My 17yo has now got braces, and the first week post-surgery (8 teeth removed) and when her braces were first put on, her biggest frustration was not being able to eat anything *other* than cold, milky foods. She's not a big fan of dairy products to start with, so her irritation was pretty high. She did drink some of the prepared smoothies, and made some of her own, but the non-stop-cold diet really got on her nerves.

My kid found that she really liked over-cooked carrots, mushed with ranch dressing. She was really missing her fave snack: raw carrots dipped in ranch dressing. She said they tasted different, but they were great. I see no reason why the same thing can't be pureed. We also made apple pie filling by chopping apples finely and cooking them with cinnamon in a little butter (no sugar needed in cooked apples in her opinion), because she loves apples.

Advice piece #1: get a LOT of the small-jar containers that fit on your blender (get a blender if you don't have one, and make sure it's the kind that has the small jars). You will find that you get bored out of your mind with the 'big batch' of whatever you made and you'll be looking for smaller portions of more variety very quickly.

Cook oatmeal in more water than it calls for, and for longer, so it breaks down completely. No puree required, and you can cook things into it (like chopped dates and apricots, peeled and cored apples or pears, because they all collapse completely) that have extra fibre and other flavours (like vanilla, cinnamon or even chocolate... mmmm... chocolate oatmeal <Grin>) that don't make it any thicker. If you make it thin enough, you may find (like the Indians and Mexicans) that it makes quite a refreshing cold drink.

You can also make 'nut milk' by pureeing and then straining a cup of raw or toasted nuts (almonds are particularly good, but I'm a macadamian and cashew fan, too) or fresh or dried coconut with 2 cups of boiling water (keep your hands away from any openings in the top of the blender. Puree for a lot longer than you think is reasonable, and you'll have very little stuff in the strainer. This is a high-fat product, but the fats are healthy and you may find it difficult to get enough into your body and that you're constantly hungry. This can help -- it's nutrient and calorie rich in liquid form.

Remember that a lot of what you're being offered has a lot of sugar and a lot of fat in it, and focus on those vegetables that are palatable when cooked more (like beets or potatoes or carrots, parsnips, carmelized onions...mmmm) and can easily be made into or added to, purees. Spinach -- in fact, most green foods -- turns into sand, somehow, when pureed, so just don't. Ew, gawd, please just don't try spinach. Even when it's cooked, it's just not food when pureed.

You don't need to emphasize protein much, because it's in practically everything, but you do need to stay aware of how much of what you eat is simple carbs -- like Ensure. That stuff is really quite a gross collection of sugared yuk that isn't much better than a vitamin pill and a glass of strawberry milk, with added sugar. Resist the urge to thin everything with milk or juice, as both have a lot of sugar and no fibre.

Thin savoury things (like pizza... I've heard from several people that it's great blended!) with chicken or vegetable stock, flat beer, wine (mmmm, wine with mushroom soup!), coffee or tea (both add a subtle richness to many kinds of food, I use them in soups and stews regularly) or thinish salad dressings like vinegarettes when pureeing -- for variety of flavour as much as anything else.

Thin sweet things (like smoothies, fruit soups, cheesecake -- don't knock that until you try it, ma'ma!) with tea, your thin-cooked oatmeal thing from above, water with a little vanilla added (water will dilute the flavour a bit, might as well add some back in!), fresh squeezed orange, lime or lemon juice (commercially-made 'unsweetened' oj has lots of added sugar, because it's a 'process' not an 'ingredient' so it doesn't need to be labelled! grrr, FDA!), chocolate milk, regular milk, nut milk, or coconut milk (make yourself or canned --avoid the kind with metabisulfide in the ingredients). Avoid commercially-prepared alternative 'milks' because they all add a bucket of sugar, and tend to have had a lot of the healthy fats removed before processing, because they're worth more to sell as oil and everyone knows that fat in food is immoral.

Make sure you're eating a variety of colours (at least before they're blended!) and what would look like a balanced diet if it weren't in the blender.

You may find that the syringe and tube you're getting are wider than you expect, enabling you to eat thicker foods than you'd think possible. You never know.



answers from Detroit on

I know what you're going through, I had jaw surgery many years ago. I lived on ensure, energy drinks and soup fr the first few weeks. After a few weeks they gave m bigger bands so i could open my mouth a little more. When this happened I pureed foods ad used a small spoon to feed myself.
I don't really have any recipes just remember eating a lot of soup through a straw. Smoothies could work too, using milk ice cream and fruits.
With your daughters you could make flash cards to help communicate. If you make them soon you would have a few days to go over what they mean. I remember a lot of communcation with a pen and pad but they are obviously too young to read. I really think flash cards coud work well though along with the signs that they already know. Also you could use a bell or somethig like that to get their attention when you need to.
Good luck, the time will pass quicker than you think.



answers from Detroit on


I KNOW this doesn't compare, but as a teenager I wore a retainer called a bionater. it kept my jaw clenched shut and I was only to take it out to eat. So, yes I could eat..

But I could still talk and go to school with it in. It wasn't easy..but it can be done. Your kids will understand you... The yelling and disaplining times may be tough for you..BUT they will understand.

I have faith you can do it!!

As for recipies.. I'm sorry I have none... lots of milkshakes and all I can think of..sorry...



answers from Grand Rapids on

My husband had this done a couple years ago. His surgeon gave him a packet of info that had ideas for foods to make. Someone on here said something about using a straw but they'll tell you not to do that. I remember us in the beginning (besides the Ensure) doing a lot of condensed cream soup & water/milk in the blender (because even the small chunks of mushroom were too big for him to eat). They used looser rubberbands every so many weeks and that way you don't actually have to wait until the end of the 8 weeks to eat thicker/chunkier things or to talk.

Have someone there at the hospital with you. I stayed the first night he was in ICU because he was disoriented and antsy (probably from the morphine). He kept trying to write down what he wanted but he couldn't write legibly.

PECS (like someone else suggested) would be great. We use that and sign language with our son who is deaf & nonverbal.

Anyways, good luck!



answers from Detroit on


My mother had surgery for a severe overbite (it caused migraine headaches) about 20 years ago. Her mouth was wired shut for two months. Everyone was able to understand what she was saying except my grandmother (she couldn't hear very well). So, I'm sure you will be understood. Though I would recommend having someone stay at the hospital with you just in case they're needed for translating your words to the doctor/nurses as I know this was a struggle for my mom and I stayed as the translator. :)

As far as what she ate...she did put everything in a blender. I think the most appetizing thing I remember her eating was cantaloupe. But, I would suggest alot of protein smoothies made with fruits & vegetables. She had gained a little extra weight since she knew she would be dropping alot of pounds.

Good luck and hang in there! I hope this helps.




answers from Detroit on

I had my jaw broken and rubberbanded shut and I had trouble eating since I was/am so picky but I remember the pizza (just the toppings) in the blender tasting GREAT!!! The one thing that you need to ask your doctor is how to "brush your teeth". Since you can't really do that it is the gross part. Maybe there is a mouthwash you can use. I remember after a little while everything tasting the same and I hated that, and not being able to brush my teeth.

As everyone else said communication is easy. Your kids will understand you just fine. They might think it is funny but have them try it too and make it a game. Good luck.



answers from Detroit on

My husband had this done many many years ago. He started out with smoothies from different stores but quickly found that they were too thick for him. We also tried to make smoothies, and his doctor had him drink ensure daily. He ended up giving up and throwing everything in the blender. It looked really gross, but he was desperate. I think the craziest thing that he did was throw a big mac in. He seemed to like it though... As far as communicating, he managed. I could pretty much understand everything, and I don't think he had much trouble at work either. Good Luck!



answers from Cincinnati on


Also, my dad had this done YEARS ago... and you'll be able to communicate better then you think. He even continued to teach his class while he was wired shut! I'm sure you have daily routines and I would bet it won't take much to keep the kids on those routines. They know what to do. Also kids often find this extra 'good' behavior when mom or dad is sick.

When my sister was little my mom had hip surgery and was laid up for quite awhile. It was amazing what my sister was capable of...she was about 3 at the time and she was the one home with my mom all day.

Good luck with the surgery.



answers from Detroit on

Hi there almost one year later. I too have to get jaw surgery and am in Novi, Mi. How did your surgery go? Did you use a surgeon in grand rapids? I will not have my sugery until this fall/winter as I am just getting my braces on this Friday. Thanks!

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