Arthrocentesis is commonly defined as the lavage or wash out of the TMJ without viewing the joint space using small sterile needles and saline or lactated Ringers solution. This procedure if performed by a trained Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is predictable, non-invasive and effective in pain relief by reducing joint inflammation and to increase jaw mobility by removing joint adhesions (scar tissue) and small bone spurs.
TMJ arthrocentesis is an in-office procedure performed under local anesthesia with IV sedation or general anesthesia. Dr. Bolourian will discuss in detail the mode of anesthesia that best fits your condition and situation. Under sterile conditions, local anesthetic (numbing medicine) is delivered to the affected temporomandibular joint (TMJ). A small, TMJ specific designed trocar is then delivered into the TMJ (Superior Joint Space). A sterile solution (Lactated Ringers or Normal Saline) is then delivered to wash out the joint and remove and dilute inflammation within the joint. Small bone spurs which are formed in response to inflammation will also be removed through this non-invasive procedure.
Am I a candidate for TMJ arthrocentesis?
Typically patients with chronic TMJ pain associated with osteoarthritis, acute closed lock or inability to open their mouth and TMJ click associated with pain are good candidates for TMJ arthrocentesis. After obtaining a thorough history and physical examination, typically a TMJ specific CT scan is performed right here at our office. A TMJ scan enables us to see close up inside the joint and diagnose many conditions the naked eyes are not able to tell us. If necessary, Dr. Bolourian may recommend an MRI to diagnose problems within the TMJ disk. The main objective of arthrocentesis is to wash out inflammatory mediators, release the disc, break adhesions, eliminate pain and improve joint mobility.
How is my recovery after TMJ arthrocentesis?
Arthrocentesis of the temporomandibular joint is a minimally invasive treatment method at the boundary between conservative and surgical therapy. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis under IV sedation and local anesthesia. It is a method with a minimum number of complications. You should expect to get back to normal activities 24 hours after the procedure. So the procedure does not have a significant downtime and recovery.
When should I expect improvements after TMJ Arthrocentesis?