TMJ replacement – both sides

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Luke was wonderful, he has a way about him which is relaxed and kind, his sense of humour is great. If you have to have this surgery he is the sort of person you want. He doesn’t want you to be terrified but understands if you do.

It all started with me not being able to open and close my mouth – I have degenerative osteoarthritis all over my body – I was a ballet dancer and teacher. I was in severe pain and also had Fibromyalgia. One day my jaw just froze and it was worse on the left side. It was weird, it would crunch a lot, bone against bone.

Many years ago I went to see a maxillofacial surgeon (I have had 14 dental implants). At that time he said my jaw was not looking great. He did CT scans but didn’t recommend action at that time. Years went by and then the jaw freezing happened again and then my jaw wouldn’t open and was beginning to get very painful after the clicking and crunching.

I called the previous maxillofacial surgeon and he recommended that I see Luke (he had retired). Luke is one of two surgeons who do full jaw replacement using titanium implants.

First Luke carried out surgery where he used an arthroscopy to clean out the jaw. This made no change, Luke said “you’ve got nothing there”, so he did some more scans and sent them to California where they make the jaw via 3D printing.

I had the operation for the left side first. It is not something to go into lightly. I was in hospital for 5 days. I had a long and painful recovery – I have a low pain threshold and overly flexible joints in addition to fibromyalgia, which creates nerve pain. Ice was a great help.

Luke was wonderful, he kept in touch with me as much as he could and he always made recommendations of who I should see for my other health problems, I got extremely good care. Then it healed – it took 6-8 weeks. You can’t see any stitches, Luke is amazing in that way, very careful and caring about what he does.

Over the summer of 2019 it was becoming clear that same was happening on the right hand side and my bite was off due to the loss of tissue, so, after putting it off, the second operation went ahead in November. This recovery was even more difficult maybe because I had an infection and had to have IV antibiotics.

My jaw feels OK now as you can see from the picture, I can now eat corn on the cob! I still have a few problems connected with my other underlying health conditions, but jaw-wise I can do what I want.

Luke is very real, he has a way about him which is relaxed and kind, his sense of humour is wonderful. If you have to have this surgery he is the sort of person you want. He doesn’t want you to be terrified but understands if you are. Very charming but not unrealistic and we got on very well. He’s very friendly but he’s very professional too. I highly recommend him.

August 2020

Patient of Luke's eating a corn on the cob