Jaw Pain After Surgery

  • January 17, 2022
Jaw surgery? You've probably never thought much about it unless you've had one. 

Some of the most common jaw surgeries are: 
  • Maxillary Osteotomy 
  • Mandibular Osteotomy 
  • Bimaxillary Osteotomy 
  • Genioplasty 
  • Arthrocentesis 
  • Open or arthroscopic surgery on the TMJ

    Surgeon performing jaw surgery in an operating room We are going to focus on the arthrocentesis and open or arthroscopic surgeries on the TMJ.   For a more generalized TMJ blog, refer to You and Your Temporomandibular Joint.

Arthrocentesis is a minimally invasive procedure in which fluid is injected into the TMJ and flushes it out. This can help lubricate the joint but also flushes out any irritating byproduct of inflammation. It is typically the first procedure done for individuals with significant TMJ problems. 

An arthroscopic surgery means a small or a few small incisions are used instead of one big opening (called an "open" surgery). Some jaw surgeries have to be performed via open technique. Not always, but often recovery time is a little longer with open surgeries. They can also create more scar tissue. Which is absolutely what you don't want anywhere, but especially in such a small area, like the TMJ. 

With either surgery type, your surgeon can perform a variety of tasks to the TMJ such as: 

  • Joint reshaping
  • Removal of scar tissue
  • Medication injection

Any time you have surgery, on any body part, tissue is inherently changed. Even a really great surgeon will not be able to operate and keep the tissue the same. Of course, the goal is to extensively try all non-invasive techniques first to manage the symptoms. However, those tissues are still different. 

That being said, sometimes patients will still have residual pain, or will have symptoms start to creep in years later. Why? Nothing in medicine is a 100% guarantee to get rid of your symptoms. We do the best we can but everyone's particular make up is unique and their path to recovery is different. 

A woman with pain after jaw surgery

Scar tissue that wasn't a problem early on can start to become a problem. Nerves can become entrapped in scar tissue Muscles can become weaker and/or tighten up. Really for any variety of reasons can you develop problems down the line after your surgery.

Physical therapy for jaw pain after surgery in Columbia and Baltimore, Maryland

If you have had oral surgery and are having jaw pain, our specialized physical therapists at Glackin Physiotherapy, LLC can help.  Reach out to our office today! 

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