What is Jaw Joint Arthrocentesis?
TMJ / Jaw Joint Arthrocentesis (the washing out
of the jaw joint space) is a procedure during
saline ± anti-inflammatory steroids, long-acting
local anæsthetics, painkillers or collagen
TMJ / Jaw Joint Arthrocentesis reduces jaw joint pain,
improves jaw joint function and reduces jaw joint clicking.
TMJ / Jaw Joint Arthrocentesis of the (upper) joint space
reduces jaw joint pain by:
diluting / flushing out the inflammatory chemicals from
the jaw joint
increasing mandibular (lower jaw) movements by
removing intra-articular adhesions (scarring within the
eliminating the negative pressure within the jaw joint
recovering disc and fossa space and improving disc
mobility (return the disc of cartilage to its normal
position within the joint) which reduces the mechanical
obstruction caused by the anterior (forward) position
of the disc.
The majority of restricted opening is secondary to upper
joint space problems, particularly ‘anchored disc’
phenomenon, where arthrocentesis is particularly beneficial.
When is Jaw Joint Arthrocentesis used?
Indications for arthrocentesis are:
dislocation of the articular disc ± reduction
limitations of mouth opening originating in the jaw joint
joint pain and other internal derangements of the TMJ.
What does the treatment involve?
TMJ / Jaw Joint Arthrocentesis usually takes place under a
General Anæsthetic - this means you will be asleep for the
entire procedure. Whilst you are asleep, two small
needles will be inserted into the TMJ / Jaw Joint. One of
these needles allows sterile saline to be pumped into the
joint under pressure whilst the other needle allows the
saline to drain out of the joint.
Will anything else be done at the same time?
While you are asleep, your lower jaw will often be
Joint disc back into its normal position and break down any
adhesions within the jaw joint.
How will I feel after the operation?
The area in and around the TMJ / Jaw Joint is often
uncomfortable for several days after the procedure.
You may find it necessary to take simple painkillers,
such as Ibuprofen, during this time.
There will be some swelling in front of your ear.
You may also find it difficult to open your jaw for a few
Will I need another appointment?
You will need to return a few weeks after surgery to have
your jaw joint checked by your surgeon. TMJ / Jaw Joint
arthrocentesis is not always successful and even in those
people who have an improvement following the procedure,
it can take several months for this to occur.
Also, you will need to continue with TMJ / Jaw Joint
exercises, physiotherapy etc.