Jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery is ideally performed when growth of the jaws have completed and no further changes to the jaws are expected.
This age varies between males and females as well, as girls would reach puberty earlier than boys, hence they would be able to undergo jaw surgery at a younger age. There is also a variation between patients, with regards to the age at which puberty is reached and when growth has stabilised.
Your orthodontist or oral maxillofacial surgeon will be able to assess whether jaw growth has completed and if one is ready for orthognathic surgery. Taking consecutive X-rays 6-12 months apart and comparing them to see if the jaw has shown signs of further growth is one of the assessments we can conduct to assess growth and readiness for surgery.
It is also important to consider the type of jaw imbalance, and studies have shown that patients with a long lower jaw tend to grow more and longer than patients with a smaller lower jaw.
In general, girls can undergo jaw surgery as young as 15-16 years old, and boys 17-18 years old depending on the time they reach puberty.
A detailed assessment by an orthodontist or oral maxillofacial surgeon is ideal, to assess if one is ready for jaw surgery. Chronological age alone is an insufficient parameter to make such a decision.
Hope this helps.
Dr Geraldine Lee