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Post-Surgical Jaw Pain: But It's Been Years!

Jaw surgery? You've probably never thought much about it unless you've had one. 

Some of the most common jaw surgeries are: 
  • Maxillary Osteotomy 
  • Mandibular Osteotomy 
  • Bimaxillary Osteotomy 
  • Genioplasty 
  • Arthrocentesis 
  • Open or arthroscopic surgery on the TMJ

                                         Surgeon with arms crossed looking at camera with colleagues performing in background      

    We are going to focus on the arthrocentesis and open or arthroscopic surgeries on the TMJ. 

    Arthrocentesis is a minimally invasive procedure in which fluid is injected into the TMJ and flushes it out. This can help lubricate the joint but also flushes out any irritating byproduct of inflammation. It is typically the first procedure done for individuals with significant TMJ problems. 

An arthroscopic surgery means a small or a few small incisions are used instead of one big opening (called an "open" surgery). Some jaw surgeries have to be performed via open technique. Not always, but often recovery time is a little longer with open surgeries. They can also create more scar tissue. Which is absolutely what you don't want anywhere, but especially in such a small area, like the TMJ. 

With either surgery type, your surgeon can perform a variety of tasks to the TMJ such as: 
  • Joint reshaping
  • Removal of scar tissue
  • Medication injection

                                             Doctor with a needle - isolated over white background

Any time you have surgery, on any body part, tissue is inherently changed. Even a really great surgeon will not be able to operate and keep the tissue the same. Of course, the goal is to extensively try all non-invasive techniques first to manage the symptoms. However, those tissues are still different. 

That being said, sometimes patients will still have residual pain, or will have symptoms start to creep in years later. Why? Nothing in medicine is a 100% guarantee to get rid of your symptoms. We do the best we can but everyone's particular make up is unique and their path to recovery is different. 


                         Closeup portrait young woman with sensitive tooth ache crown problem about to cry from pain touching outside mouth with hand isolated grey wall background. Negative emotion facial expression feeling

Scar tissue that wasn't a problem early on can start to become a problem. Nerves can become entrapped in scar tissue Muscles can become weaker and/or tighten up. Really for any variety of reasons can you develop problems down the line after your surgery. 

If you've had a jaw surgery and need help recovering, or managing a flare up, contact our office today!