What Is Arthrocentesis?

For the estimated 10 million Americans suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder, finding a safe and effective treatment for this often debilitating condition can be a huge concern. Though there is no cure for temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJD, there are several treatment options that have been found to be both effective and relatively non-invasive. One such treatment is a procedure called arthrocentesis. Though it sounds complicated and a bit daunting, arthrocentesis is actually a fairly common procedure that typically boasts impressive results.

If you are tired of the joint pain and stiffness that comes with TMJ disorder, here’s what you should know when considering arthrocentesis.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

Before we get into what arthrocentesis is, we need to understand what temporomandibular joint disorder is. Temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition where the jaw joint becomes misaligned (either by injury or genetics), causing stiffness and discomfort in the jaw. In some cases, the misalignment can cause pain that radiates throughout the head, neck and back. In others, it can cause everything from tinnitus to migraine headaches, bruxism (teeth grinding), and the inability to open and close the mouth. Though not all TMJD sufferers will experience the same symptoms, what they do have in common is a lot of pain.

What Is Arthrocentesis?

Arthrocentesis is a procedure to “wash out” the jaw joint with sterile fluid and remove adhesions and scar tissue in the joint that may be preventing it from healing and allowing it to properly realign. Once the joint is washed, Dr. Sanovich can then realign it manually and inject it with medication, steroids or other growth factors to help it heal.

The procedure is done under IV sedation. Once the patient is sedated, Dr. Sanovich will insert two hypodermic needles into the joint to flush out the scar tissue and its byproducts. This reduces inflammation of the joint and allows for faster and more successful healing.

How Does This Help My TMJ Disorder?

By undergoing an arthrocentesis procedure, the jawbone is not only given more room to fit back into the temporomandibular joint, but it is also repositioned during the procedure so it can heal in place. This realignment of the disc should eliminate much of the pain associated with the misalignment and have you feeling like yourself again after a brief recovery.

Want more information? Call Dr. Sanovich’s office today at 972-776-4888.

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