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Arthroscopic Tmj Procedure


Arthroscopic TMJ is surgery to remove extra tissue from your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that prevents your jaw from working properly. Healthcare providers use a small, bendable tube with a camera on the end to see inside your jaw and remove the extra tissue.


Before your surgery:

  • 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 is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Pre-op care: You may be given medicine right before your surgery. This medicine may make you feel relaxed and sleepy. Antibiotics may also be given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. 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 surgery:

  • Your healthcare provider will make a small incision in front of your ear. The arthroscope will be put through this incision into your TMJ. Other small incisions may be made for instruments needed during your surgery. Saline fluid may be given as a shot into your TMJ space to make it larger. The saline will also help keep your TMJ area clear for your healthcare provider to see it better. Your healthcare provider will look for problems in your TMJ such as scar tissue, bone damage, and swelling.
  • Your healthcare provider will remove any scar tissue, inflammation, or tissues blocking your TMJ movement. He may use a small blade, shaver, or laser to remove the tissue. Your healthcare provider may send a sample of the tissue to a lab for tests. Your incision will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over it to keep it clean and dry.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room where you can rest until you are awake. Do not try to get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When healthcare providers see that you are having no problems, you may be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you may then be taken to your hospital room.

  • Medicines:
    • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
    • Steroids: These may be given to decrease swelling, inflammation, and pain.
    • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more pain medicine.
  • Nutrition: You may be given pureed or liquid food after your surgery. This is to prevent jaw movements while your TMJ heals.
  • Jaw exercises: You will need to do jaw exercises after your surgery. These exercises help relieve bone and muscle pain and improve jaw movement. A physical therapist will teach you how to do these exercises.
  • Mouth devices: Mouth devices include mouth or bite guards, splints, and jaw orthotics. 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 your surgery area may be injured. You may get blood clots in your ear canal, have dizziness, hearing loss, or problems seeing. TMJ surgery may also cause abnormal heartbeats and low blood pressure. Your healthcare providers will watch you closely for these problems. Without surgery, your pain and other symptoms may worsen.


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

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