More Stem Cell TMJ Success Without Surgery

by Chris Centeno, MD /

avoid tmj replacement surgery

I like blogging about what I experience on a day-to-day basis, so this one is about a patient I followed up on this week who had severe TMJ arthritis and was contemplating a joint replacement. She was eating only smoothies, so how did she do and what did we do to help her? Let’s dive in.

What Is TMJ Arthritis?

The TMJ is your jaw joint. It can get arthritis like any other joint, and those issues are frequently associated with upper neck problems. The joint has a meniscus spacer like the knee as well as strong ligaments that hold it in place. When the arthritis is mild, dentists will often inject steroids (which can be harmful in the long run but help in the short run) into the joint or use specialized mouthpieces called splints. When arthritis gets severe, TMJ replacement is often the only option.

Is TMJ Replacement the Only Solution?

One of the issues we often hear from patients who get or are researching TMJ replacement is that the surgery is hit or miss. In addition, this is a big surgery, with one recent university study showing about a 5% infection rate that required surgical removal of the prosthesis. In addition, another recent research study discussed that TMJ implants can produce similar adverse tissue reactions to hip replacement implants. Yet another study found that about one-third of patients who got a TMJ replacement surgery on one side and had TMJ issues on the other needed to have the other side replaced, likely due to abnormal loading.

We have been treating arthritic TMJs for many years with both platelet-rich plasma as well as stem cells. We produced this video a while back about one patient’s experience with the stem cell procedure on both her TMJ and upper neck:

Kim’s TMJ Journey

Kim is 49 years old with right-sided TMJ and was told that she was “bone on bone” and needed a TMJ replacement. She talked to friends and others who had the surgery, and despite what she was being told by the maxillofacial surgeon, she heard more about bad results than good ones. When I first evaluated her, she was on a liquid diet and was only eating smoothies. This caused her to lose about 10–12 pounds.

Her CT scan of the area from her health plan (Kaiser) showed severe TMJ arthritis. This included big bone spurs plus a change in shape of the mandible part of the joint. Kim had a Regenexx SD TMJ procedure performed, which used her own bone marrow stem cells to treat the joint, surrounding ligaments, and tendons. This is a technically demanding procedure that requires both ultrasound and X-ray guidance using C-arm fluoroscopy.

How did she do? I saw her back this week at five months out from her procedure. She reports that she’s 90% better without surgery, just the precise stem cell injection procedure. She’s switched from smoothies to eating mostly what she wants, including hard food, although she avoids a few things that are hard and chewy. We plan to do one more follow-up platelet-based procedure, and then we’re likely done for now.

The upshot? We have seen great results in helping TMJ patients avoid surgery. Given the invasiveness of TMJ replacement, this can be a great option for patients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “More Stem Cell TMJ Success Without Surgery

  1. Colleen Whitney

    I live in ocean isle beach NC looking for someone to help me with knee pain who can I call for stem cell injection can u help me pls.

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi Colleen,
      Please call 855 622 7838 and our Patient Liaison team can assist in finding the best location for you.

  2. James

    I have TMJ which is effecting my Eustachian Tube. How successful has this process been and what are the costs

    1. Regenexx Team

      Hi James,
      Our TMJ treatment has been very successful in the right patients. To see if your particular TMJ issue would be a candidate for this procedure, please submit the candidate form here: http://www.regenexx.com, or give us a call at 855 622 7838. Cost depends on what’s needed in each situation.

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.