Open-Joint Arthroplasty

Open-joint arthroplasty is surgery to repair, reposition, replace, or remove parts in a joint. When used to treat temporomandibular disorder (TMD), this usually involves the articular disc that cushions the jaw joint. During open-joint arthroplasty of the jaw, an incision is made in the skin to expose the jaw joint. Dr. Sanovich may repair, reposition, or replace the disc with the patients own tissue or an artificial disc. Scar tissue or bony growths in the jaw joint can also be removed.

Open-joint arthroplasty is done under general anesthesia. The patient can normally expect to go home the same day. When jaw joint movement cannot be regained because the disc has changed too much or the joint has broken down, Dr. Sanovich may need to remove the disc (discectomy) and replace it with an artificial disc.

After surgery, medicines are prescribed to relieve pain and reduce swelling. The patient can start physical therapy within 48 hours to maintain movement and prevent scar tissue from forming. The patient may be given a mouthpiece (splint) to wear while rehabilitating their jaw.

Open-joint arthroplasty is used when there are bony growths within the jaw joint. Such growths are hard to reach with arthroscopic methods. It may also be used if there were complications from a previous surgery such as the failure of an artificial joint replacement. It is also used when the joint is fused together by bony growth (ankylosis). Lastly, the procedure is used when the joint is not accessible with arthroscopic surgery.

Disc repositioning surgery can relieve pain and improve jaw function. This surgery has good results 85% to 90% of the time.