Total joint replacement systems are done via an artificial orthopedic device insertion and replace joints that are painful due to a compromised or non functioning joint. TMJ prosthetics are ball and socket joints comprised of 2 parts. The 2 parts they are comprised of are the fossa as well as the condyle.
The fossa is the socket portion of the joint. It sits nestled between the maxilla and the zygomatic process. It’s located next to the ear canal. To replace such joints the surgeon uses medical grade plastic to create the portion of the body.
The condyle is the ball portion of the joint that is protruding from the mandible structure that extends from the fossa to comprise the joint. In this portion hard metals are utilized to construct the implant and make it last.
1. Why Would Someone Require A TMJ Joint Replacement?
If you’ve had severe degenerative changes within your joint that have given you severe pain or loss of function, you may need to have your joint replaced. Replacing said joint is imperative to restore functional properties of the TMJ.
For a lot of people, this is the last resort to preserve the function. It’s not meant for pain relief although often that does help. There are three basic types of pain that the person is suffering from: Bone, muscle and nerve pain. Replacement is only replacing the bone that is afflicted by the condition.
For those who are considering total joint replacement, it’s vital to do the background work. It’s imperative to understand the role in the process. Statistically, the reason for such surgeries is due to loss via a trauma. It is also done for heterotopic bone growth and for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and traumatic arthritis or Lupus. Tumors and cancer round out the list of reasons for such replacements.
2. How Long Will It Take To Recover?
Typically a patient will remain in the hospital for 3 to five days.
The full recovery will vary greatly from one patient to another. Most of the doctors will suggest normal activity after four to six weeks of having the procedure done. This doesn’t however imply that the patient is fully recovered. There may be extended swelling as well as paralysis and forms of tingling. In fact, it can take several months for complete healing to occur.
3. Will I Require A Soft Foods Diet?
In most surgeries, a soft foods diet is required. Any surgical procedure can slow down the digestive system and create issues. In the beginning you’ll be on a liquid diet. This is due to the anesthesia required for surgery. If you’re being wired, you may have to have this liquid diet a while longer. As your body recovers you’ll work back into a normal diet. You will however need to avoid hard candies, sticky or crunchy foods and chewing gum as well as taffy and jaw breakers for the rest of your life.
4. Is The Surgery Painful?
A week prior to surgery you’ll have a meeting with your anesthesiologist. Tell them of all medications that you are currently on. Tell them also if you’re on any pain medications and why. This information will help them to plan your pain relief accordingly. Successful pain management requires full communication between you, the surgeon and your anesthesiologist. You should always inquire about pain relief when you speak to your surgeon. You may need a prescription to help ease your pain in the first few weeks. If you’re in a pain management program you’ll also need to get your pain management specialist on board so that you can maintain your pain free life.
5. Is There Any Reasons I Shouldn’t Undergo This Procedure?
Only you and your surgeon can truly decide this. You may wish to ask about specific prosthesis, allergies and bruxism prior to surgery. If you have any active infections you’ll also want to address this infection prior to surgery. What do you anticipate after surgery? Be sure to discuss this with your surgeon as well. How much pain are you in at present and what is your level of function? Will surgery help to alleviate this? It’s important to understand how total joint replacement will affect this in your body and if it will improve your quality of life. Discuss all of this with your surgeon. It’s always wise to write out your questions prior to meeting with your surgeon as it’s easy to forget the questions when you’re in the meeting. Remember that the surgeon has other patients so your time is limited in the meeting and you’ll want to make the most of your time.