What is TMJ arthroscopy?

TMJ arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure designed to reduce pain from temporomandibular joint disorder. Also known as jaw arthroscopy, this type of TMJ surgery uses a miniature camera and surgical instruments to diagnose and correct the tissue around your jaw.

Arthroscopy is sometimes known as keyhole surgery, as the incisions made in your skin are very small. This reduces the risk of severe scarring and can offer much faster recovery times than other types of surgery.

TMJ disorders that can be treated with arthroscopy include:

  • Jaw hypermobility (jaw looseness)
  • Osteoarthrosis (degeneration of the jaw joint)
  • Jaw dislocation
  • Benign tumours in the jaw joint (synovial chondromatosis)

Learn more about TMJ arthroscopy below, including the success rates, side effects, and procedure costs.

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TMJ arthroscopy FAQs

In these frequently asked questions, learn more about the TMJ arthroscopy operation, side effects, and recovery time.

You can normally go home the same day after your TMJ arthroscopy, but you may want to take a few days off work while the pain subsides and the swelling goes down. This usually takes 5-7 days at most.

Arthroscopy for TMJ dysfunction has success rates of up to 90%, making it one of the most effective treatments for temporomandibular disorder.

You’ll be under general anaesthetic during the TMJ arthroscopy procedure so that you won’t feel any pain. When the anaesthetic wears off, you’ll likely feel some discomfort, but this can usually be managed with painkillers and rest.

Bleeding, swelling, and discomfort are known side effects of TMJ arthroscopy. While rare, there are some other potential side effects to note, such as:

  • Facial muscle weakness (this is a temporary short-term complication).
  • Infection.
  • Ear injury (this is a very rare complication).
  • Temporary jaw stiffness.

To minimise the risks of TMJ arthroscopy, follow your surgeon’s aftercare advice carefully.

You might feel some discomfort in your jaw when you come round from the anaesthetic. Your doctors can provide pain medication to alleviate this while you’re in hospital.

Your jaw may feel stiff and swollen for a few days, so stick to liquids and soft foods. Take any medication you’ve been prescribed, and avoid opening your mouth too wide or clenching your jaw closed. Work with your physiotherapist to gradually increase the range of motion around your jaw.

TMJ arthroscopy costs

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Spread the cost of your medical treatment over several months with our finance options and medical payment plans. This is ideal for patients seeking the speed and comfort of private healthcare without significant upfront payments.


Use our self-payment options to get prompt care with the consultant of your choice. Patients looking for fast, efficient treatment without private health insurance are welcome to pay for treatment before their procedure.

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We welcome patients with private medical insurance from approved insurers, including Bupa, AXA, Aviva, and many more. Find out how to claim for your treatment with private health insurance to get optimum care and comfort.

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Learn more about jaw arthroscopy

Find out more about this minimally invasive type of TMJ treatment below.

You might be eligible for TMJ keyhole surgery if:

  • You have severe and/or consistent jaw pain due to a TMJ disorder.
  • The amount of damage in your jaw isn’t too advanced.
  • Non-surgical TMJ treatments haven’t helped with your jaw pain.
  • It’s painful to eat, drink, or swallow due to jaw pain

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, so it’s not usually considered a major surgery. TMJ arthroscopy may reduce the likelihood that you’ll need major jaw surgery, such as a jaw joint replacement.

Your physiotherapist will give you specific exercises to increase jaw mobility and strength after your operation. These may include:

  • Slowly opening and closing your jaw with your tongue positioned on the roof of your mouth.
  • Relaxing your jaw and breathing slowly through your nose.
  • Neck and upper spine mobility exercises.

There isn’t always an upper age limit for jaw surgery. As long as you’re in good general health, you may be a candidate for jaw arthroscopy. Our consultants will discuss your individual eligibility with you.

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