Concomitant temporomandibular joint and orthognathic surgery: a preliminary report

Larry M Wolford, Spiro Karras, Pushkar Mehra
Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 2002, 60 (4): 356-62; discussion 362-3

PURPOSE: In the present study, we evaluated the outcome of concomitant temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and orthognathic surgery in patients with TMJ articular disc dislocation and coexisting dentofacial deformities.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The records of 70 patients treated with TMJ articular disc-repositioning surgery and concomitant orthognathic surgery (double jaw or only mandibular surgery) were retrospectively evaluated. Patients were divided into the following 3 groups: group 1 patients had mandibular advancement, group 2 patients had mandibular setback, and group 3 patients had a mandible that remained in the original position. Lateral cephalometric radiographs and lateral cephalometric tomograms were assessed at the following intervals: before surgery (T1), immediately after surgery (T2), 6 to 12 months after surgery (T3), and at the longest follow-up (T4). Lateral cephalometric tracings were superimposed to calculate surgical change (T2 - T1), short-term stability (T3 - T2), and long-term stability (T4 - T3) of the orthognathic surgery procedures. Maximum interincisal opening (MIO) and subjective TMJ pain (visual analog scales) were comparatively evaluated at T1 and T4.

RESULTS: Subjective TMJ pain levels and MIO improved in all 3 groups after surgery. Before surgery, 56 of 70 patients (80%) had pain and 14 of 70 patients (20%) had no pain. At the longest follow-up, 42 of 70 patients (60%) reported complete relief of TMJ pain. Only 5 of 70 patients (7%) had severe pain after surgery compared with 37 of 70 patients (53%) before surgery. At the longest follow-up, 6 of 70 patients (9%) showed less than 35 mm MIO, residual severe pain, or both. One patient had significant condylar resorption after surgery. The orthognathic procedures were found to be stable in the long term. Concomitant TMJ and orthognathic surgery had an overall success rate of 91.4% based on a greater than 35 mm MIO and a decrease in pain.

CONCLUSIONS: When indicated, TMJ and orthognathic surgery can be concomitantly performed with predictable results and a good success rate. Strong consideration should be given to early surgical intervention because the success rate decreases significantly with pre-existing TMJ dysfunction of greater than 48 months' duration.

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