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Eating after maxillofacial surgery

Published on October 16, 2018 at 12:00 / Updated on June 7, 2022 at 12:37

From removing wisdom teeth to treating injuries, diseases, anomalies and disorders of the jaw and face, maxillofacial surgeries are much more widespread than before and have a significant impact on the way we eat. Eating after such a surgery can be a headache because of the restricted food textures, as well as pain and sensitivity of the teeth. Here’s a short guide on how to eat after this type of surgery.

Depending on the type of surgery, the healing progress and the condition of the mouth, the texture transition begins by ingesting liquids, mashed or soft-textured foods, and will eventually progress to a normal texture as the mouth heals.

The importance of protein

As the diet after maxillofacial surgery can be restrictive in terms of texture, patients may not eat enough or don’t get enough protein in their diet. Healing tissues and wounds also increases our protein requirements. It’s therefore essential to make food choices that contain these proteins in order to promote healing, but also to minimize the loss of muscle mass often experienced following an inactive recovery period with a reduced protein intake. 

Here are some examples of foods for each of the texture categories. Items containing proteins are identified by an asterisk. At least one food containing protein should be eaten with each meal. 

Liquid texture 

  • Milk or soy beverages*
  • Fruit juices 
  • Cream soups or chunky soups
  • Homemade smoothies with fruit chunks or seeds
  • Drinkable yogurt
  • Commercial liquid supplements* (example: Boost, Ensure, etc.)

At this stage, adding a source of protein to smoothies, milk, soups and cream soups is an interesting option. Powdered milk is an affordable option that is easy to add to recipes and provides a good amount of protein. Otherwise, protein powders, such as whey, are good options. They are easily found on drugstore shelves and come in a variety of flavours, such as strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, cookie, etc.

Purée texture

In addition to all liquid-textured foods, you can eat the following foods:  

  • Oatmeal or cereals softened in milk* 
  • Plain omelets*
  • Scrambled eggs*

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Puréed meat* (meat can be puréed by putting it in a blender with sauce, a cooking liquid or even soup)
  • Greek yogurt*
  • Fruit purees
  • Pudding*
  • Blancmange*

Soft texture

In addition to all the foods in the liquid and purée textures, you can also eat the following foods:

  • Oven and slow cooker meals* 
  • Minced meat*
  • Fish*
  • Omelet with well-cooked pieces of vegetables*
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Rice, pasta, and other cooked cereal grains
  • Tender fruits (bananas, peaches, berries, melons, etc.
  • Rice pudding, tapioca
  • Tofu*

Depending on the healing progress and tolerance to previous foods, a gradual transition to a normal diet may take place. However, it should be noted that some surgeries require closer follow-up with a nutritionist/dietitian to determine if evolving towards a higher texture is safe. 

Finally, remember that you must pay attention to your diet after maxillofacial surgery in order to obtain enough energy and proteins from suitable textures in order to promote optimal healing, adequate nutrition, preservation of muscle mass and a good level of energy. Preparing food in advance and freezing it can be an easy option when the recovery is expected to be more difficult.

Familiprix in collaboration with Hubert Cormier

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