What is the role of a diagnostic nerve block in the workup of TMJ syndrome?

Updated: Jun 02, 2020
  • Author: Vivian Tsai, MD, MPH, FACEP; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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The auriculotemporal branch of the trigeminal nerve provides the sensory innervation of the TMJ. A diagnostic nerve block of the auriculotemporal nerve can be helpful in differentiating whether the unilateral orofacial pain originates in the TMJ capsule. [10]

To perform a diagnostic anesthesia block, use a 25- to 30-gauge needle and inject 0.5 mL of short-acting anesthetic about 0.5 inches below the skin just inferior and lateral to the mandibular condyle. If the patient does not experience pain relief with the nerve block, consider other causes of the orofacial pain.

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