What types of surgery can be carried out?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons basically have these surgical options:

  • Arthrocentesis
  • Arthroscopy
  • Arthroplasty
  • Partial joint replacement
  • Total joint replacement

In arthrocentesis, the surgeons place two needles around the joint space, then flush and irrigate the joint, getting rid of scar tissue and fibrous matter that is interrupting the joint. Arthroscopy is a procedure where a small endoscope is placed inside the joint for diagnostic purposes and to treat inflammation and discs that are “stuck” in position or displaced.

For more serious disorders where the disc is badly displaced an open arthroplasty can be performed to repair, reposition or remove the disc. Only in cases where there is severe late-stage degeneration of the disc and condyle is total joint replacement considered.

However, think long and hard and seek several opinions before undertaking surgery on this difficult area. Post-surgical results are often disappointing.