Condylar Trauma

 Post-traumatic jaw surgery is a unique subspecialty of jaw surgery and should be performed by experienced jaw surgeons. All of the surgeons in our center have extensive experience with the treatment of complex facial trauma as well as post-traumatic deformities.


Trauma to the condyle of the mandible presents a unique set of issues for several reasons:

  1. The condyles contain the growth regulation centers of the entire mandible.

  2. The condyles are the portions of the mandible that function in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), allowing the mandible to open and close properly.

  3. The condyles provide a “stop” for the mandible. They are the only portion of the mandible touching another bone. Without this “stop,” the mandible is able to move into areas in which it is not meant to be. Imagine a stool with one short leg: the stool will tilt until the short leg hits the ground, providing a new “stop” but tilting the stool.


After condylar trauma, patients may present with altered functioning of the TMJ, asymmetry of the mandible, or growth disturbances of the mandible. Therefore, patients with issues after condylar trauma require a comprehensive evaluation of the mandible and TMJ.


Surgery will depend on many factors related to the aesthetics and function of the upper and lower jaws. A thorough evaluation is performed, including a full set of standard diagnostic records. Additional studies may be required, including:

  • CT scans of the facial bones

  • A 3D evaluation and virtual surgical planning session

  • A printed plastic exact replica of the patient’s skull and mandible


In addition to a complete facial bone evaluation, evaluation for the following issues, specifically related to condylar trauma, will be performed:

  • Ankylosis (fusion of the bones of the TMJ resulting in decreased function)

  • Malocclusion (teeth do not interdigitate correctly)

  • TMJ dysfunction (pain, deviation, or lack of function of TMJ)

  • Mandibular growth asymmetry (when trauma occurs in a growing child)


Once an evaluation has been completed and a diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan is developed. Depending on the injury, the treatment plan may range from nonsurgical treatment to any of the following treatments:

  • Traditional corrective jaw surgery

  • Release of ankyloses (fused bones) of the TMJ

  • Distraction osteogenesis of the mandible

  • Rib grafts to reconstruct the mandible

  • Prosthetic TMJ reconstruction



Raymond J, Fonseca R, Walker, RV. Traumatic injuries of the mandibular condyle. In: Fonseca R, Walker RV, eds. Oral and Maxillofacial Trauma. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1991.


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office: 973-736-1714

fax: 973-325-3487




West Orange, NJ
101 Old Short Hills Road, Penthouse 2
West Orange, NJ 07052



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