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Open Jaw Joint Surgery

Surgeon may decide that the best way to sort out the problems a patient is experiencing from the jaw joint is to perform “open” surgery. Open surgery involves exposing the jaw joint fully by making a cut in front of the ear.

The length of the operation depends on what the surgeon will be doing on the jaw joint. If the procedure is relatively simple (eg repositioning of a slipped cartilage) surgery may take less than an hour. If the procedure is more complicated (eg partial or total joint replacement) then the operation will last for several hours.

The area in front of the ear is likely to be sore for several days after surgery. Regular pain relief will be arranged. It is also necessary to make sure that the area heals without any infection and so patients may also be given antibiotics

Immediately after the operation the patient's face will be swollen and feel tight, the jaw will be stiff and patients will find that they cannot open their mouth widely. Bruising is variable and can last several days. Any swelling can be reduced by using cold compresses and sleeping propped upright for a few days. Most of the swelling will have disappeared after a week.

To begin with no. For the first week or so patients will only want a soft diet. Some may find that their bite feels strange for a couple of weeks.

This obviously varies from person to person and depends on what sort of surgery has been performed. Most patients spend one or two nights in hospital after their operation.

Again this varies enormously from person to person. Most people require a week or so off work

All cuts made through the skin leave a scar but the majority of these fade with time and are difficult to see when they are fully healed. It may take several months for the scar to fade but eventually it should blend into the natural folds and contours in front of the ear.

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