The temporomandibulat Joint enables movements of the mandible (lower jaw) to aid functions like mastication and speech. Sometimes, one or both the joints may fuse. This is most commonly seen in cases where there has been prior trauma or injury to the joint. Due to fusion of the bones, jaw movement and mouth opening gets severely restricted and extremely painful. Surgery must be done to restore joint movement.
Dr. Balaji is the first Maxillofacial Surgeon in India to be awarded a PhD in Temporomandibular Joint Surgery. He excels at gap arthroplasty with Temporalis muscle interpositioning surgery for the treatment of TMJ ankylosis. In this, the fused bone mass is removed and a part of the temporalis muscle from in front of the ear is taken and repositioned in the TMJ space.
Gap arthroplasty along with bone graft from the rib (costochondral graft) may be performed in some cases to reconstruct the temporomandibular joint with ankylosis.
Dr. Balaji is a pioneer in advocating the recent advancement is Maxillofacial Surgery-Distraction Osteogenesis as a means of temporomandibular joint reconstruction. He has successfully used this technique along with gap arthroplasty in reconstructing TMJ and correcting facial asymmetry in innumerable patients afflicted with TMJ ankylosis.