Re: Joint pain
I had arthoscopy done which I think is the same thing - its a fairly minor surgery in terms of jaw surgery. However, to say there is no side effects is inaccurate - there always the risk of side affects in any surgery. Though because this is considered not to be particurly invasive (as opposed open jaw surgery for example), there should be in theory less risk.
It was done on out patient basis at a hospital. I was put under a general anesthetic. My doctor made a couple of tiny holes in front of my ear inserted a fine instrument, he washed the joint, to wash out chemicals that build up from inflamation; released adhesions (scar tissue) which can cause the disk to stick and not move well and he also did a cortisone injection - he can do it with much more acurately with the arthoscopic procedure.. He also stretched and mobilized my jaw while I was under. When I was released my head was wraped in compression bandage, which i was able to take off in the morning. I had a couple of stiches which were removed in about a week. I had moderate pain and bruising for about a week or so. I did have nerve weekness in my right eye for a couple of days following surgery which meant I couldn't close or blink my right eye (I had the procedure done on my right TMJ joint) and I understand this is not uncommon for nerve irritation to occur that effects the eye - usually temporary but in extremely rare cases permanent. Your doctor should clearly explain all of the potential risks of the procedure.
While the arthoscopy should allow him to see the disk and determine how bad or good of shape its in, my question, though, is if your doctor doesn't think the procedure is going to do any good because the disk is in too bad of shape, what's the point of doing it? What other alternatives is he suggesting and what are the risks/benefits of doing these other alternatives in light of the severity of your sypmtons? These are the questions I would be asking.