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TMJ Disorder -TemporoMandibular Joint Message Board

Open Joint Surgery Recovery

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Old 01-18-2005, 01:32 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 32
lawya_bunny HB User
Open Joint Surgery Recovery

So I was hoping that those who have undergone open joint surgery (with or without a graft) suturing the displaced discs back into place could tell me how long and painful the revovery process is. My doctor says I will have my jaw wired shut for 10 days (liquid diet only during this part), followed by a soft foods diet. I will miss 2-3 weeks of work. My real question is, how much pain can I expect to be in and do the pain relievers help that much? Will I look like a freak while my incisions heal (i.e., swollen face, bandages around my head, etc.)? When can I start eating normal food again? I have not made a decision yet, so all the information I can get my hands on will help me make this critical choice.

I went and got that second opinion and he said he could make me an occlusal splint that would adjust my bite so that my jaw and face muscles could finally relax. However, he did say that it probably wouldn't reverse the already advanced degerative state of my joint and soft tissue (displaced and shredded discs). But that it might halt any further degeneration, and if so, maybe I won't need surgery (but maybe I will). Only time will tell. I think it boils down to the fact that there are two types of TMJ disorders: muscular issues and joint pathology, both of which I have. The splint can only address the muscular effect, and surgery can only address joint pathology. The more I think about it, the more I think that I will need both splint therapy AND surgery due to the holes in my disc.

Any comments much appreciated!

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Old 01-18-2005, 01:46 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Newburgh, Indiana USA
Posts: 588
westin4 HB User
Re: Open Joint Surgery Recovery

hopefully Mommy will post to this. She has lots of info and good advice for this topic.....if she doesn't, make a post to her to get her attention.

Best of luck.

Old 01-18-2005, 02:20 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: fl
Posts: 152
buffster HB User
Re: Open Joint Surgery Recovery

My real question is, how much pain can I expect to be in and do the pain relievers help that much? Will I look like a freak while my incisions heal (i.e., swollen face, bandages around my head, etc.)?

well as far as pain i guess that depends on what exactly they do i had my disc removed and a cartilage graft YES it was painful the pain killers did help some but for the most part i slept a lot
Swelling WOW i swelled up so bad i thought i was gonna die but that went down after about a week or so PT helped a lot with that
as far as incision well that too depends on the skill of your DR Mine healed wonderfully you can tell if you look close enough but over all no BIG difference i did wear a bandage in the hospital but not after i was dismissed
the overall time to heal for me was about a month still had some pain and problems eating but that subsided after the second month

well that's my experience I'm sure everyone has a different story we are all different and each heals differently

Take care

Old 01-19-2005, 11:20 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 32
lawya_bunny HB User
Re: Open Joint Surgery Recovery

Thanks for the info Buff! Not looking forward to swelling up like a big fat balloon, but I guess that can't be helped. Anyone else care to comment on the pain and recovery process?

Old 01-19-2005, 12:51 PM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 80
mommy2scl HB User
Re: Open Joint Surgery Recovery

Mommy is here

I had open joint surgery too. I did not however have my jaw wired shut. I had an incision made from just above my ear, along the front of the ear, through the ear lobe to reduce the visibility of the scar, to just below the ear. He did an excellent job at suturing it and it is barely visible and one would have to really look for it to see it. I did swell up for a good 4 to 5 weeks. Each week it went down a little bit more. I was quite black and blue too. I had a pressure bandage around my head for 48 hours after the surgery that was very uncomfortable. That thing made me look more like a freak than anything else. After having that off, I just wore a small bandage and then none, just putting antibiotic cream on the sutured area. I had the sutures in for about 10 days. The pain was pretty bad for the first week or so. I was on percocet for at least 3 weeks I think. I had demerol in the hospital. I did not have to stay over night. I was there for most of the day though. I did have my disc sutured into place and I am not sure if it is still in place. It took quite a while to be able to eat again. Well I still cannot really eat and that surgery was done back in June 2004. I'm still on the soft stuff. But I was on the liquid stuff for the first few days I think. Overall - not as bad as I thought it would be. Recovered quicker than I thought I would and not as much pain as I thought I would have. But I have a pretty high tolerance for pain.


Last edited by mommy2scl; 01-19-2005 at 12:51 PM.

Old 01-19-2005, 02:20 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 497
rubato HB User
Re: Open Joint Surgery Recovery

Hi. I had the surgery 10 years ago, and I truly don't remember my recovery time. I was only 24, so I'm sure it was quick. My surgeon is a tmj specialist who is also a plastic surgeon. He put an incision in front of each ear, and I've never had a scar. I think I was on a liquid, soft diet for about 3 or 4 months afterwards. Physical therapy was the biggest ordeal. 3 days a week of pure torture. But, I got a very serious opening from it. I can't remember swelling too bad though. I didn't get my mouth wired shut either because I had to start opening it the day after the surgery. I'm having my discs removed on Feb. 1st, and they won't do the surgery without a physical therapy appointment for the following day when I'm released. So, I'll have to be opening my mouth by then. I'm dreading this part, but I have to do it. My doctor says I should take at least a week off of work for this one. Of course, I'm a stay at home mom and can't take any time off, but oh well. I don't know if I helped, but good luck.

Old 01-20-2005, 03:12 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 240
papergoods HB User
Re: Open Joint Surgery Recovery

I have not had experience in this dept, only that a few surgeons have said tread very carefully, they can get rid of the click, maybe but not the pain. and one surgery leads to more...

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