Getting ready

I am having surgery in one month. April 10th, they are going to (try to) repair my jaw.

The plan is to actually do 2 different surgeries at the same time.

On the right hand side, due to disc displacement, the jaw bones have been grating together every time I open my mouth. 

Nifty pic right?

Nifty pic right?

 As a result, it’s rough and irregular and it cracks when I open. So, on the right, they will take a scope and do an arthroplasty to reshape the bone and shift the disc a bit so it’s not so likely to pop out of place. There’s not a whole lot more they can do on the right at this point because what is left of the bone is fragile and anything more invasive has the potential to destroy it completely, leaving it neccesary to do an actual joint replacement. Let’s not do that. They tell me that although they’re not doing as much repair on the right side, the pain relief will be much more noticiable soon after surgery. Since a lot of the right-side pain I have is because of the bone-on-bone grating, smoothing things out will make the acutal movement a lot less traumatic.

TMJThen, on the left… A bit more complicated. I’m still not exactly sure what they’re going to do. The disc on the left is actually fused to my skull. The joint dislocates completely when opened and thunks the edge of the frozen disc every time it does. This puts a lot of stress on the jaw muscles which causes muscle strain, wear and inflammation. That is the primary cause of the chronic pain and headaches I’ve been dealing with. The jaw muscles attach to various places on the facial bones and the skull. When they’re stressed and inflamed, it puts stress on everything they are hooked up to.

 

Base picture courtesy of uvahealth.com. Arrows done by me!

Base picture courtesy of uvahealth.com. Arrows done by me!

Hence, massive pain that starts behind my ear and radiates out until it encompasses my head in a cocoon of angry nerve endings just determined to make my day suck ass. It will be an open surgery, meaning they’re going to do icky things like pull back the skin on my face and all kinds of creepy shit that I’d rather not think about thank you very much. And then they’re going to pry the disc off my skull and either repair it or, if it isn’t salvageable, replace it. The recovery time for that side will be longer, but the surgeon tells me, with proper aftercare and compliance with physical therapy, I should have almost complete resolution of pain in about 6 months.

So that’s what I’m trying to wrap my head around right now… Hmmm… that was almost a literal statement. Sorta. Not really. Anyways… Trying to prepare myself and get stuff set up at home so I can deal. And I’m kinda scared. It’s not like I’ve never had surgery before, but this is my head… They are going to be cutting my face and operating on my skull. That’s a little nerve-wracking. But at this point, everytime I start thinking about it and I get scared, my brain starts to deviate because the pain is so bad I can’t maintain a thought for more than a minute. And then I’m just grateful that there might be an end to this soon.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara Marsh (@barida17)
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 18:41:37

    do they have any idea what caused these problems in the first place? It sounds as though the fix will suck, but hopefully, it will be worth it.

    Reply

    • newlifeinvermont
      Mar 09, 2013 @ 08:43:00

      It apparently has something to do with my ligaments being looser than the average person. The natural laxity made me tend to open my jaw wider than it should and eventually it starting coming out of the socket completely and pushing the discs where they weren’t supposed to be. It’s been an issue for 15 years but has been getting much worse in the past few years.

      Reply

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