Post-Surgical Instructions – Nutrition

After any type of surgery, the body automatically sets about the task of healing itself, starting a natural rebuilding process. But in order to heal as quickly as possible, the body requires sufficient nutrients-carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins-as well as adequate amounts of fluid. The oral and maxillofacial surgery patient has perhaps even greater difficulty getting proper nutrition because often the surgery has been in the mouth.

Good nutrition ensures the body will have all the nutrients the healing process requires, and means eating the right foods and consuming a well-balanced diet. For an adult, normal daily nutrition would include a balanced intake of 2 cups of milk or dairy products, 4 or more servings of grain or cereals, 2 or more servings of meat or other sources of protein, and 3 or more servings of vegetables.


If you fail to give your body adequate nourishment, the result can be fatigue, infection and delayed healing.

In the case of multiple tooth extractions or when surgery is performed for dentures, chewing can be difficult. When jaws are wired shut, normal eating is nearly impossible and food must be consumed in liquid form.


Since solid foods can’t be chewed, they can be liquefied in a blender. And although the food may not always look appetizing, it can be tasty. Cooked servings of your favorite foods can be blended separately or in combinations to suit your taste. Normal seasonings can be added. But, best of all, you’ll be getting your full supply of nutrients.


To ensure getting your recommended daily requirements of nutrients and calories and to satisfy your hunger, you may wish to eat more frequently than usual, consuming 5-6 meals per day. To determine how much food to put in the blender, place the desired portions on a plate, add seasonings, and then transfer the portions individually or in combinations into the blender. To make the blended mixture the proper consistency, use neither milk, juice, broth, or water as a thinner, choosing the liquid that will either add to the flavor or will have little effect on the flavor.

In liquid form, food can be taken through a large plastic straw, it can be sipped out of a cup, or, if you can open your mouth wide enough, you can eat it with a spoon.

To prevent oral hygiene problems for people with wired jaws, the blended food mixture can be strained to remove food fiber and particles. Food supplements and vitamins may be used to provide additional nutrients. There are several commercially prepared food supplements available that your surgeon may recommend.


The following recipes are provided as examples of blended meals that ensure getting proper nutrients during oral and maxillofacial surgery convalescence. Supplement these selections with your own favorite recipes to meet your nutrient and calorie requirements (for active adult females, 2000 calories a day; for active adult males, 2700 calories per day). Snack suggestions are included to lend variety to your rehabilitation diet and to satisfy hunger between regularly scheduled meals.



3 tbsp oatmeal (no added salt)
1-cup water
1 tbsp. honey
1 large orange, peeled and cut into fine pieces
1-cup whole milk

Add oatmeal to rapidly boiling water and cook until consistency of thick cream soup. Remove from heat and add brown sugar and honey. Mix until well dissolved, allow mixture to cool. Add orange, mix well; add milk slowly; and beat mixture with fork or wire whisk. Yield: 16 oz. or two 8 oz. servings. One 8 oz. serving contains 287 calories, 7g protein, 50g carbohydrate and 15g fat.


1 cup cooked cream of wheat made with milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
Butter and brown sugar to taste
1 tbsp. wheat germ

May be blended if necessary.

Yield: Two 6 oz. servings. One 6 oz. serving contains 136 calories, 21g carbohydrate, 7g protein, and 4g fat; slightly more if butter and sugar are added.

Lunch or Dinner


3 oz. of a medium cooked ground beef patty (lean) or substitute 3 oz. of cooked meat or poultry
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cooked or canned vegetable
1 medium boiled potato or 1/2 cup mashed
1 tsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Blend 3/4-cup milk and meat separately for 4 minutes. Stir in potato, vegetable, salt, and remaining milk and blend for one minute. Strain. Melt butter in top of double boiler. Add the strained blended mixture and heat for five minutes.

Yield: One serving contains 747 calories, 47g carbohydrate, 45g protein, and 42g fat. Below are other blended lunch and dinner combinations you may wish to try.

chili con carne thinned with tomato juice
grilled hamburger or hot dog with baked beans thinned with V-8 juice
spaghetti and meatballs thinned with tomato juice
chop suey with beef or pork thinned with broth
lasagna or ravioli thinned with milk or tomato juice
beef stew thinned with broth or tomato juice
chunky canned soup thinned with broth or tomato juice



1 cup Jell-O
10 oz. Milk


Yield: 16 oz. or two 8 oz. servings. One 8 oz. serving contains 180 calories, 26g carbohydrate, 7g protein and 5g fat.


16 oz. milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 scoop vanilla ice cream


Yield: Two 10 oz. servings. One 10 oz. serving contains 334 calories, 22g carbohydrate, 18g protein and 21g fat.


2/3 cup orange juice (or juice of your choice)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. sugar or honey
1 large egg

Blend for one minute.

Yield: 12 oz. One 12 oz. serving contains 226 calories, 34g carbohydrate, 8g protein and 6g fat.


1/2-cup cream style cottage cheese
2 oz. water
1/2 cup orange juice
pinch of cinnamon

Blend for 2 minutes. Pour over ice and serve.

Yield: 8 oz. One 8 oz. serving contains 175 calories, 17g protein, 16g carbohydrate and 5g fat.


8 oz. plain yogurt (2% milk)
1/2 cup concentrated grape juice (or juice of your choice)

Beat yogurt with frozen concentrate until blended.

Yield: 12 oz. One 12 oz. serving contains 305 calories, 59g carbohydrate, 9g protein and 4g fat.



Recipe suggestions were provided by Gloria R. Singer, MS, RD (member of the American Dietetic Association). For more information to meet your specific needs, contact a registered dietitian at the healthcare facility where your surgery was performed.

Portions of the above information provided as a courtesy by:

American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
9700 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue
Rosemont, Illinois 60018-5701
847/678-6200 Fax: 847/678-6286

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services