First Jaw Replacement Surgery at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center Gives New hope to TMJ Sufferers
A clicking or popping noise or pain in the jaw shouldn’t be taken lightly. They could lead to serious problems such as the one treated using by groundbreaking surgery at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (PMMC).
Drs. John Lignelli II and Paul Smith, independent members of the active medical staff at PMMC, recently led a successful, three-hour jaw-replacement procedure. The patient, a woman in her 50s, began experiencing jaw pain eight years ago. The procedure was the first such operation performed at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center.. PMMC is the only suburban hospital to offer this procedure outside of the major inner-city university medical centers.
“The jaw functions like any other joint—it has bones, cartilage and tendons, it can get tired and sore, and you can sprain the jaw muscles,” says Dr. Lignelli. “The patient’s problem started because her TMJ (temporomandibular) joint wasn’t aligned properly, which put too much stress on it. Over time, the cartilage in her jaws simply wore out. It’s the same as when cartilage in the knee wears out and a knee replacement is required. For a jaw replacement, we use a titanium prosthesis that is custom-made for the patient.”
After jaw replacement, patients generally have normal use of their jaw, significantly less or no pain and very little restriction on the types of food they can eat. Most patients are back home within a day or two and start a rehab program of simple exercises in which they open their mouth wider every day. In most cases, they’re back to work in two weeks.
Dr. Lignelli emphasizes that jaw-replacement surgery is done only if other treatments don’t work. “We have a whole arsenal of options available to us—including arthroscopic surgery. If a person is having constant pain and it’s affecting their productivity, lifestyle and food choices, it’s time to consider medical treatment.”
Dr. Lignelli’s patient made a full recovery and has normal use of her jaw. This procedure will now be performed regularly at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center.
Dr. Lignelli views PMMC as a valuable ally in his work: “They make available to us the surgical equipment that enables us to practice the full scope of oral surgery, not only TMJ procedures but also dental and facial-trauma surgery for patients of all ages.
Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (PMMC), a 227-bed, acute care hospital is conveniently located in western Montgomery county just off route 422 at the Armand Hammer Blvd. exit.
The medical staff features 260 physicians and over 40 medical specialties. PMMC offers the latest technology and treatments, a full array of inpatient services, and convenient outpatient locations for ambulatory surgery, rehabilitation, diagnostic services, occupational health services, lab work as well as family practices including: Coventry, Limerick, Berks & Boyertown Family Care, Berks Medical Associates and Coventry Pediatrics.