Surgical Treatments for TMJ Disorders (TMD)
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Your healthcare provider may advise a surgical procedure to treat specific TMJ disorders if non-surgical treatments don't work after a period of time. It's important to know that surgical procedures for TMJ disorders are controversial and should be avoided, if possible. Surgical procedures for TMJ disorders include: arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, arthrotomy, or replacement of the joint. During arthrocentesis, your surgeon will insert two needles into your joint. It will be flushed with a sterile liquid to wash out scar tissue and improve movement. During arthroscopy, your surgeon will make one or more small openings in the skin in front of your ear. A small tool with a tiny camera will be inserted into the joint. This allows the surgeon to see what is causing the problems. Your surgeon can use the same tool to repair your joint through the small openings. Some problems require the joint to be opened. During arthrotomy, your surgeon will make an incision in front of your ear. Once the joint is opened, the surgeon will be able to fix problems such as a disc that is out of place. Sometimes, the TMJ may be damaged enough that it needs to be replaced. During the procedure, the joint will be replaced with an artificial device call a "prosthesis." The parts of the prosthesis are the fossa component and the mandibular component. During a joint replacement procedure, your surgeon will make an incision over your joint and another under your jaw. After your joint is prepared for the prosthesis, the fossa component will be put in place with screws. Then your surgeon will attach the mandibular component to the bone in your lower jaw with screws. Fat from your belly or buttocks will be packed around the new joint. This will help prevent scar tissue and excess bone from forming. At the end of the procedure, the incisions will be closed with stitches. It's important to discuss the risks with your healthcare provider, because a TMJ surgical procedure is often irreversible. It could make your problem worse, and may not reduce your pain. If you have questions about treatments for TMJ disorders or are having pain in your TMJ that won't go away, talk to your healthcare provider.