Immediately after surgery you will be moved to a recovery room until the general anesthetic has worn off. Your family may not be allowed in the recovery room, but they should be able to visit you shortly thereafter. An intravenous apparatus attached to your arm will provide required medications and nutrients until you are able to take sufficient nutrients by mouth.
Your stay at the hospital may be 1 to 3 days, depending on the complexity of the surgical procedure.
The amount of swelling following surgery will vary. For arthroscopic procedures, there is little swelling, but even minimal swelling may cause the ears to ring and the joint and ear to ache. Also, the bite may be temporarily out of alignment. You may be required to wear an occlusal splint, for several weeks. As a rule, the more complex the surgical procedure, the longer the recovery time.
Follow-up care— After TMJ surgery it is important that you avoid as many factors as possible that could contribute to a return of your TMJ disorder. Control of stress, avoidance of hard foods, protecting the jaw joints from injury, and adherence to the self-care regimen described earlier can help reduce the chances of a return of TMJ problems.
Our doctors will discuss ongoing treatment options such as occlusal splints, physical therapy and other techniques applicable to your individual case.
Post-Operative Instructions For TMJ Surgery
Expect to experience swelling following the arthroscopy. This is normal and will generally persist for at least a few days.
Some discomfort will usually be experienced the evening of the surgery and sometimes the next day or so. Generally, this is mild and can be easily controlled with aspirin or Tylenol. However, if these medications are not effective, you will be given a prescription for stronger medication to be used for the first day or two.
Jaw movement usually is limited for the first several days. Range of jaw motion and vertical opening should be restored after about 2 weeks depending upon the case and procedure performed.
Ice may also be applied to the face in 20-minute intervals for the first 72 hours.
You may apply a heating pad the fourth day after surgery or continue with the ice if heat is not tolerated.
The dressing can be removed the morning following the surgery and you can bath or shower as desired. Do not be concerned about the small incisions. You may get them wet without worry.
If you had a rib graft, dressings will be applied and should not be removed for 2 to four days following the surgery. Baths and showers may be taken after dressings are removed.
Diet should consist of liquids and soft food for 2 to six weeks. Consistency of your diet will depend upon the procedure performed.
Depending upon your case, you will be instructed in how soon after surgery you should see Dr Reynolds or your physical therapist (if applicable).