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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
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
Open-joint arthroplasty is used when:
Disc repositioning surgery can relieve pain and improve jaw function. This surgery has good results 80% to 95% of the time.1
Possible complications include:
When possible, a nonsurgical approach is preferred over surgery,
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.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Tucker MR, et al. (2008). Management of
temporomandibular disorders. In JR Hupp et al., eds., Contemporary Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 5th ed., pp.
629–649. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
January 11, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
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