Gabby Douglas Is Finally on the Road to Recovery

We now know why this member of the Final (Fiercest) Five didn’t attend Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards with the rest of her winning teammates.

That night, the 20-year-old gymnast tweeted a photo of herself lying in bed with what appeared to be a pack on the right side of her lower face.

The two days later, the first African-American all-around Olympic gold medalist shared an update with her fans on Facebook about a “prior injury that caused a cyst to grow on a bone” inside her mouth. Ouch!

“Yes, there’s a cyst called a traumatic bone cyst,” Michael Singer, a dentist who practices at the Randolph Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Randolph, N.J., tells Yahoo Beauty.
Gabby Douglas Is Finally on the Road to Recovery
Singer explained it’s not a traditional cyst “in the true sense because a cyst has an
epithelial lining [a closed sac in the body that contains a liquid or semi-solid substance]. It actually looks quite ominous in an X-ray, but in reality, it’s missing a bone inside the jaw itself, which is caused by trauma.”

While it’s not a life-threatening condition, he warns that “having a void inside your jaw could cause a potential weakness in the jaw, where it could break if not taken care of.”

Standard treatment for this condition involves a procedure where an incision is made inside the mouth “by shredding or scraping the cyst” to stimulate the release of blood. “Once that happens, the body should repair itself over time.” And depending on the size of the cyst — “it can be quite large” — a patient may need to be hospitalized due to their level of discomfort.

In many cases, the post-surgery swelling should subside within one to two weeks, and “significant bone growth” should happen anywhere from six weeks to three months following the procedure.

“She’ll probably be able to resume activity after a week or so,” adds Singer. “But if [her doctors] feel that the lesion is too big, they would tell her not to do any activity until the jawbone is uniform because of risk of fracture.”

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