Following are the slides for a presentation on Preventing and Treating Trismus after surgery or radiation for head and neck cancer. This was presented as a technical review at the 2016 ASHA national convention in Philadelphia. There was an accompanying 3-page handout linked here. This presentation was tailored for Speech Pathologists (SLPs) working with head & neck patients.

The presentation covered topics including: 
  • What is trismus?
  • The serious consequences from trismus, especially medical complications like a compromised airway,  intubation problems, and disrupted medical treatments.
  • Baseline: What is the "normal" or average opening?  
  • How do you measure the mouth opening?  Jaw scales for maximum-interincisal opening (MIO) or oral range-of-motion (ROM).
  • How do you diagnose trismus?  What is the clinical definition? 
  • What are the head & neck cancer risk factors for trismus?
  • What is radiation fibrosis and how does it progress? 
  • What is the incidence of trismus? 
  • When to be on guard for trismus?  Who is at highest risk?  How to prevent it?
  • How do you treat a patient that is already showing a reduced opening?  How to treat trismus.
  • What devices are available to prevent and treat trismus?  A review, including the OraStretch press and TheraBite systems.
  • How do you use a jaw motion rehab system like the OraStretch press?
  • What other options are available?
  • When should you order a jaw motion rehab system to prevent trismus?  A rubric or algorithm for recommending prevention vs. observation to wait and see if the patient develops trismus.
  • How to order a jaw motion rehab system?  Does insurance cover the devices? 
  • More information and references are available at

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