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Arthroscopic TMJ

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

Arthroscopic TMJ is a procedure used to remove extra tissue from your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The extra tissue prevents your jaw from working properly.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV will be placed into a vein. You may be given medicine or liquid through the IV.
  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During your procedure:

You will receive general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain. Your surgeon will make a small incision in front of your ear. The arthroscope (small, bendable tube with a camera on the end) will be put through this incision into your joint. You may need other small incisions for the tools used during the procedure. Your surgeon will remove any scar tissue, inflammation, or tissues blocking your jaw movement. Your incisions may be closed with stitches, medical glue, or adhesive strips.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay.

  • Medicines may be given to relieve pain, decrease inflammation, or prevent infection.
  • Liquid or pureed food will be given to limit jaw movement after the procedure.
  • Jaw exercises help relieve bone and muscle pain and improve jaw movement. A physical therapist will teach you how to do these exercises.
  • Mouth devices , including mouth or bite guards, splints, and jaw orthotics, may be needed. These devices can help your jaw heal properly and prevent teeth grinding or clenching.


You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your ear canal and the nerves near the procedure area may be injured. You may get blood clots in your ear canal, have dizziness, hearing loss, or problems seeing. This procedure may also cause abnormal heartbeats and low blood pressure.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.