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At Penn Medicine, our expert oral and maxillofacial surgeons are pioneers in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) surgery.

As part of its leading-edge care, the Penn Center for TMJ Disease offers Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) to help ensure the best possible outcomes for TMJ total joint replacement surgery.

ERAS addresses your TMJ pain, nutrition, movement, surgical site and educational needs throughout your treatment journey — from surgery prep to recovery. And evidence-based programs such as ERAS have been shown to improve surgical outcomes, patient care and satisfaction.

What is ERAS?

Traditionally, surgical processes -- which include evaluation before surgery, hospitalization for surgery, and care after surgery — were fragmented. You’d often have to visit different providers at different locations depending on where you were in the process.

The ERAS pathway streamlines the TMJ total joint replacement surgery journey — from preparation through recovery. By following ERAS, your care team can better prepare you for TMJ surgery and evaluate potential risk factors at all phases of your journey. By design, ERAS helps you achieve early recovery after surgery by better preparing you before surgery.

What is TMJ total joint replacement surgery?

If you have severe arthritis, bony fusion, tumors or broken bones, you may benefit from complete replacement of the temporomandibular joint. During the procedure, an incision is made in front of the ear and under the jaw line so the ball-and-socket component of the joint is able to be replaced. Learn more about the treatments and procedures for TMJ available at Penn Medicine.

What happens before, during and after TMJ total joint replacement surgery?

There are three main components to Enhanced Recovery After Surgery at Penn Medicine:

  1. Preparation for surgery
  2. Care during your hospital stay
  3. Recovery after discharge

Before surgery, you can expect the following:

  • Your surgeon will recommend educational materials about TMJ total joint replacement surgery.
  • You’ll receive a health optimization, which can include a nutritional screening, smoking cessation, coordination of medications, and management with any of your other providers.
  • You and your care team will review pre-admission, admission, and follow-up schedules.
  • Your care team will explain and review your physical therapy regimen.

While you’re in the hospital, your care team will work with you on the following:

  • Using medications to manage pain.
  • Early use of the TheraBite for physical therapy.
  • Early mobility (i.e. getting up out of bed).
  • Early nutritional guidance and an unrestricted diet.

After you leave the hospital, you’ll follow personalized discharge instructions from your care team, but you can expect the following:

  • You’ll be sent home his the same medications you used to manage your pain while in the hospital.
  • You’ll have an unrestricted diet.
  • You’ll be expected to begin physical therapy immediately, including using the TheraBite given to you in the hospital five times each day. 
  • You’ll schedule a follow-up appointment for one week after surgery. You’ll also be expected to attend follow-up visits after one, three and six months and one year after your surgery. 
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