What is a CT-Guided TM Joint Injection?

ct patient

TMJ refers to your jaw joint, the temporo-mandibular joint. An injection of local anaesthetic and/or steroid of this joint is performed under  Computed Tomography CT guidance.  The injection is usually done to alleviate pain and rarely to assist in a ‘locked jaw’.

Please inform the booking staff if you are Warfarin, Plavix or any other blood thinning agents, or have any other medication allergies.

CT-Guided TM Joint Injection

What happens during your CT-Guided TM Joint Injection?

A. Before your scan

What to bring

  • Your request form
  • Any relevant previous imaging
  • Your Medicare card

Preparation – In the week before your scan

You must advise us of any blood-thinning medication you are taking such as Aspirin, Warfarin, Plavix or Iscover. You may need to stop taking certain medications for a period of time before your treatment. Please discuss this with your doctor or specialist who is prescribing these drugs or contact us for advice. You may need tests to determine your vulnerability to bleeding from this injection. If you have heart disease, please consult with your doctor with regards to your fitness for this procedure.

Preparation – On the day of the scan

You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding your health status, medication, and any known allergies. Please inform us if you have heart disease, bleeding disorders, are on blood thing medication or if there is any chance you may be pregnant.

B. During your CT-Guided TM Joint Injection


The radiologist will consult with you before the procedure. When you are transferred to the CT room you will be made comfortable on the examination table. The radiologists will clean your skin over the TMJ with an antiseptic and place markers. The examination table slides you into the centre of the CT machine and some preliminary pictures are taken. The radiologist will then inject a local anaesthetic with a very fine needle. A scan will then be performed to confirm the needle position and, once satisfied, the medication (usually a steroid) will be injected. Your procedure will take about 20 minutes.

Risks and side effects

CT-guided TM Joint Injection is a very low risk procedure. Find out more about CT Risks and Side Effects. Other risks associated with this procedure include:

  • Pain or discomfort at the needle insertion site, or bruising.
  • The facial nerve travels through this region and is occasionally affected by the local anaesthetic. This will cause the facial muscles on the side to droop. Also, blinking of the eye may be reduced. This is transient and will usually only last only 2-3 hours. We will instruct you on how to care for your eye over this period.
  • Infection is very rare buy may involve redness or swelling and increased joint pain, usually after 48 hours. Increasing pain should be promptly reported to your doctor.

Any medical procedure can potentially be associated with unpredictable risks.

Who will perform my procedure?

Your injection will be performed by a specialist, supported by our medical imaging team.

CT-Guided TM Joint Injection

What happens after your CT-Guided TM Joint Injection?

Post procedural information

After the injection the needle is removed and a small bandage is applied.  This bandage must stay firmly in place and dry for 48 hours after the injection.

In some cases the muscles on the same side of your face as the injection may feel numb, your eye may get watery, and you may not be able to blink normally. This usually lasts for between 2-3 hours. We will instruct you on how to care for your eye over this period.

Avoid hard or chewy foods the day of your injection and the day following your injection.

It is not uncommon to experience pain or discomfort after the local anaesthetic has worn off.  This usually persists into much of the following day. You may continue your current medication as necessary. If steroids have been injected, they will usually take effect after 48 hours.

It is highly recommended that you have someone pick you up after the procedure.

How do I get my results?

The data we gather from your scan is used to create images that will be available online, on CD and/or hard copy, depending on your doctor’s preference.

All scans are reviewed by our Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologists,  Clinical Professor Bernard Koong or Dr Tom Huang.  We are the only practice with full time AHPRA registered Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologists in residence, who are always available to your doctor to discuss your individual case.

  • For non?urgent cases we ask that you allow 2?4 working days for the results.
  • Urgent cases can be expedited and, where necessary, our radiologists are also able to discuss the results with your doctor over the phone soon after the scan.

CT-Guided TM Joint Injection