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pink0cupcake 01-20-2013 06:28 PM

TMJ + Rib Grafting

I was wondering if anyone had gone through TMJ surgery before where they've used rib grafts? My surgeon says this is really my only option (we've tried other surgeries in the past but the migraines and pain keep coming back) and I wanted to know if anyone had any experience with the surgery?

How long was recovery time? Was scarring bad? Did you find the surgery to be effective and helpful? And anything else that you might have to mention would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks So Much!

Shirlett 01-21-2013 09:06 AM

Re: TMJ + Rib Grafting

I had Rib Graft Reconstruction of my left jaw joint using my own ribs before I ever opted for jaw implants. Are you planning to use your own rib or donor rib? For me, having to heal from the surgery on my jaw and where they cut my chest and removed the rib was not a good experiance. It was very painful. I did not have good results with the Rib Graft Resconstruction, my body "reabsorbed" the rib and within nine months I was right back to square one. Have you already had previous jaw surgeries? I urge you to do more research on the Rib Graft Reconstruction and ALWAYS try and make surgery your last option.
Take Care!:wave:

pink0cupcake 01-21-2013 09:27 AM

Re: TMJ + Rib Grafting
That doesn't make me feel very hopeful. I've had surgery 2.5 years ago but they just pulled my jaw and chin forward. That helped relieve some muscle tension and strain and for a year I went migraine free and it was wonderful! But after the first year the pain and migraines started coming back and now they're so bad that I'm throwing up from the pain. I've tried every over the counter medication and they don't do anything. I've moved on to some prescription medications (T3s and Tridural) but they don't make a dent in the pain either. I'm starting to move from school into a career in the next few months and I'm worried that I wont be able to get through a work day. I've had to miss school in the past because I couldn't get out of bed but I've learned to push myself through the days but I can't imagine being on my feet all day, interacting with people at work with a migraine. And in a 7 day week I usually have about 5 bad days of pain on average. So I was thinking maybe another surgery would be the best option? I know it should always be a last resort but my surgeon has basically told me that it's the only way to go because of the degeneration in my jaw joints.

We're planning on using my own ribs. This surgeon is very well known in my area and surrounding areas and he doesn't like using implants since he feels foreign objects in the body should be a very last resort.

But I guess my question is, what are the odds that I'll be able to recover (at least to a point where I don't look like I've just come out of surgery) in one month? Is that a reasonable amount of time to allocate to recovery or am I going to need more than that before my face starts looking normal? I know with my last surgery the swelling didn't completely go down until two or three months later, but after the first month the bruising had pretty much disappeared and the swelling had gone down enough that it didn't look dramatic.

I've tried doing some research online regarding this surgery but I haven't been able to find very much information on it. The majority of the websites talk about surgical implants, not ribs. Is there any website (or google search words) you might recommend?

Shirlett 01-21-2013 01:24 PM

Re: TMJ + Rib Grafting

I do not know of any web sites, I am sure there are one or two and you just posted this am so give the support site so time for others to answer you and with Hope others that have under gone the RGR with success will answer and maybe lead you in a good direction.

As far as the healing goes, every one is different and from my surgery experiance (July 18, 2012 was number 17 for me) it takes time and is not something you can rush. It also depends on how prepared you are for the surgery, how involved the surgery is, ect. Do you know how many ribs they intend to take? How many stitches you may have? For me, my chest took longer to heal and my movement was VERY restricted so the healing took alot longer. I think it is Great for you to have a positive thinking that if you under go this surgery that in one month you [I]want[/I] your "healing" to be at this point.

Stay Positive and again, give this support site some time for others to answer you. My heart goes out to you for the pain you are suffering from. After 17 TMJ surgeries and three sets of TMJ Concepts implants for the first time in over 20 years I am pain and pill free for now. I know the implants could break at any time and the horrid pain can return so I am making the best of every day that I am not fighting pain and discomfort. DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE! Keep pushing forward and keep researching. TMJ treatment has come so far in just the last 15 years and it just keeps moving forward in a very good way.

Have you tried Tramadol? It is a prescription but it is not a narcotic. I have had great results with it as have a few other on the support site. When I am in pain it is strong enough to help me get it in check without the pain taking me over and it is stronger than OTC.

I really hope you get some answers and this works out for you. Remember, we all have differant experancies and just because a surgery or treatment plan failed for someone else does not mean you will have the same results. TMJ is very different for all of us. We suffer and battle the same medical condition but we all react differently to treatment. My RGR failed due to synovial cyst that my body kept forming for whatever reason and the cyst were so large and heavy they destroyed my bone and made it very weak and brittle. Still today there is no reason I have been given as to why the rib bone just disappeared (reabsorbed) and left the screws. I asked where did it go? Did it go back to my ribs where they cut it from? Also ASK your OS how they intended to remove the rib(s), how many they estimate they will need? These were two questions I FAILED to ask before the surgery and I was taken aback upon waking up in recovery. Mine were sawed out, so the movement of the sawing motion caused me great distress. I felt as if I had been picked up by my rib caged and shook violently. I just had to let it go and move on to another form of treatment. I chose the RGR because at the time I was very fearful of putting objects into my body that were not original. As well as making the decision that I wanted the OS to use my own bone because I just did not think I could walk around with donor bone in my head. I am a "what if" person and for me, I would drive myself crazy with questions and worry.

Keep asking questions and try to make yourself as knowledgeable as you can BUT remember everyone's experience differs so do not let that make your decision for you. I hope you get answers and relief!

Take Care!:wave:

pink0cupcake 01-21-2013 09:02 PM

Re: TMJ + Rib Grafting
Thank you so much for all of that information. I never know what questions to ask because I only think of them afterward, so thanks so much for suggesting some things to look into ahead of time so I'm more prepared. I'll have to talk to my surgeon about all of that. I'm fairly certain he wants to take two ribs, but that's another good question to ask.

I'm also glad to hear that you're relatively pain free for the first time in a long while! Hopefully one day I can get to that point because right now the pain is so bad it's stopping me from doing a lot of what I'd like to be doing.

Thanks again for all your help, I'll wait around and hopefully more people will have suggestions and stories to share with me!

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