Therabite is a rehablitiation system for jaw trismus. It is claimed that early use of this device helps to improve mobility of the mandible and to improve speech and swallowing in a patient population that is at risk of having difficulties with these functions. One of the benefits of the TheraBite system is that it not only stretches the connective tissue that causes trismus, but also allows for proper mobilization of the temporomandibular joint, thus addressing a secondary cause of pain and tightness.
Most of teh studies have been in the temporomandibular syndrome. The device holds the jaw in position while the patient places his tongue at the roof of the mouth and swallows. The rationale is based on exercise principles known to work in other parts of the body. Her studies in healthy patients have shown that swallowing in this unusual position significantly increases activation of the swallowing muscles.
There are few studies specifically in radiation therapy survovors. Gaziano (Evaluation and management of oropharyngeal dysphagia in the head and neck cancer, Cancer Control, Vol 9:5, 10:2002, 400-409) emphasizes the evaluation and management of oropharyngeal dysphagia in head and neck cancer patients. Range-of-motion exercises are mentioned as important dysphagia treatment in head and neck cancer patients who have structural or tissue damage. However, several review papers and one guidelines (cited below) specifically recommend this system.
Please determine if Therabit Jaw rehabilitation system for trismus would be medically necessary.
Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). Radiation oncology nursing practice and education. 3rd ed. Pittsburgh (PA): Oncology Nursing Society (ONS); 2005. 277 p. [1078 references]
Buchbinder D, Currivan RB, Kaplan AJ, Urken ML. Mobilization regimens for the prevention of jaw hypomobility in the radiated patient: a comparison of three techniques. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1993;51:863-867.
Cohen EG, Deschler DG, Walsh K, Hayden RE. Early use of a mechanical stretching device to improve mandibular mobility after composite resection: a pilot study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005; 86:1416-1419.
Summary of studies at http://www.atosmedical.com/Products/Mouth_Jaw/Clinical_Evidence/Summary%20of%20Evidence.aspx