Having jaw surgery can be daunting, but if you go into the experience knowing what to expect, and being prepared for everything you will be going through, it will be a much smoother experience. Sharing tips with your fellow patients is also a great way to learn, since those who have been through the procedures can tell you what it was like and what they would do differently. Here are a collection of questions you need to ask when you are considering having TMJ surgery:
Know the Basics
- Why do I need to have this procedure?
- Exactly what surgery are you recommending?
- Are there any alternatives that are non-surgical?
- Will my insurance cover this?
- If not, how much will it cost?
Make a Pros & Cons List
I suggest making a list of the pros and cons of having the surgery. The following questions will help you put this list together.
- What are the benefits of having this surgery?
- What are the risks?
- What would happen if I decide not to have the operation?
- What are the success rates for this procedure? What are the success rates for any alternatives?
- What will happen if it does not work?
Get the Details
- What type of anesthesia will I have?
- How long is the recovery?
- What results should I expect?
- Will this surgery relieve my jaw pain?
- Will this surgery help my jaw function?
Choosing Your Surgeon & the Best Facility for You
Since TMJ surgery is not an emergency and is considered elective surgery, you can make sure that the surgeon you choose, and the facility they operate in, is the right one for you. Ask the surgeon:
- How many of these types of surgeries have you done?
- Will I need to stay in the hospital?
- Or, will this be an outpatient procedure?
A tip here is to ask the surgeon what the usual procedure is for the type of operation you are having. You want to make sure that your surgery is done in the right place – for example, if the surgery is usually done inpatient, you would normally want to have your surgery done that way. If the surgeon is recommending something different than the usual, ask why.
Get a Second Opinion!
It is important to get a second opinion when you are considering a treatment or surgery that is invasive and irreversible. This way you can make sure that you are making the best choice for your situation. The surgeon will not be upset that you are seeking another opinion… if they were having surgery, they would do the same thing!
The bottom line is that the more prepared you are, the better equipped you are to deal with unforeseen circumstances or sudden changes in the plan. You will be much less nervous, and will be able to focus on your recovery easier if you know what will be happening each step of the way.