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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.


The week before your procedure:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure and stay with you for 24 hours.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine before the procedure, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of the procedure.
  • You may need to have blood tests done before your procedure.

The night before your procedure:

You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight.

The day of your procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Healthcare providers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. You may be given liquids or medicine through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

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.


  • You get sick.
  • You have worsening pain in your jaw.
  • Your jaw locks open and you cannot close your mouth.


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.

Care Agreement

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.

Further information

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