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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:

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your healthcare provider. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • You may need to have blood tests done before your surgery. You may also need other tests, such as an MRI or an arthrography.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask healthcare providers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • 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. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • 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 anesthesia to keep you free of pain 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.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Steroids: These may be given to decrease pain and inflammation.


  • You get sick.
  • You have worsening pain in your jaw.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • 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 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.

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

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