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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Open-Joint Arthroplasty for Temporomandibular Disorders
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Open-joint arthroplasty is surgery to repair, reposition, replace, or remove parts in a joint. When used to treat temporomandibular disorder (TMD), this usually involves the articular disc that cushions the jaw joint.
During open-joint arthroplasty of the jaw, an incision is made in the skin to expose the jaw joint. The surgeon may repair, reposition, or replace the disc with your own tissue or an artificial disc. Scar tissue or bony growths in the jaw joint can also be removed.
Open-joint arthroplasty is done under general anesthesia. You can normally expect to go home the same day.
When jaw joint movement cannot be regained because the disc has changed too much or the joint has broken down, the surgeon may need to remove the disc (discectomy) and replace it with an artificial disc.
After surgery, medicines are prescribed to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
You can start physical therapy within 48 hours to maintain movement and prevent scar tissue from forming.
You may be given a mouthpiece (splint) to wear while rehabilitating your jaw.
Open-joint arthroplasty is used when:
Disc repositioning surgery can relieve pain and improve jaw function. This surgery has good results 85% to 90% of the time.footnote 1
Possible complications include:
When possible, a nonsurgical approach is preferred over surgery, because:
Current practice trends are to avoid altering disc position or structure. After disc replacement, an adverse reaction to an artificial disc is possible.
Repeat surgery is less likely to produce positive results.
Surgeries done using open-joint arthroplasty require more recovery time than do arthroscopic surgeries.
If your doctor recommends surgery, experts agree that it is best to get a second opinion.
Tucker MR, et al. (2014). Management of temporomandibular disorders. In JR Hupp et al., eds., Contemporary Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 6th ed., pp. 627–647. St. Louis: Mosby.
Current as of: March 25, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: March 25, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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