Higher Dose of Dexamethasone Does Not Further Reduce Facial Swelling After Orthognathic Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial Using 3-Dimensional Photogrammetry

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The objective of this prospective, double-blind, randomized clinical trial was to compare the effect of 2 dexamethasone dosages on reducing facial swelling after orthognathic surgery through 3-dimensional (3D) photogrammetry.

Patients and Methods

Patients were classified into group 1 (control group) and group 2 (study group), depending on the administered dexamethasone dosage (5 and 15 mg, respectively). Three-dimensional images were recorded at 5 time points: preoperative (T0) and postoperative at 48 ± 6 hours (T1), 1 week (T2), 1 month (T3), and 6 months (T4). A preliminary study was performed on 5 patients, in whom 3D images were captured at 24, 36, 48, and 60 hours postoperatively to record serial changes in facial swelling. Facial swelling at T1, T2, and T3 and the reduction in swelling at T2 and T3 compared with that at the baseline (T4) were calculated. Possible complications, namely, adrenal suppression, wound dehiscence, wound infection, and postoperative nausea and vomiting were evaluated.


In total, 68 patients were enrolled, of whom 25 patients in group 1 and 31 patients in group 2 were eligible for final evaluation. No significant differences were found between the 2 groups at any period. On average, the swelling subsided by 86% at 1 month after the orthognathic surgery. Facial swelling peaked approximately 48 hours after the surgery. The incidence of nausea and vomiting did not differ significantly between the groups.


The effect of 5 and 15 mg of dexamethasone on facial swelling reduction as well as on nausea and vomiting after orthognathic surgery was not significantly different.

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