Utility of frequency-selective fat saturation T2-weighted MR images for the detection of joint effusion in the temporomandibular joint

T Tanaka, Y Morimoto, S Masumi, K Tominaga, T Ohba
Dento Maxillo Facial Radiology 2002, 31 (5): 305-12

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate joint effusion in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) using frequency-selective fat saturation (FS) T2-weighted images and assess this technique. To investigate whether bone marrow abnormalities and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings of internal derangement may be linked to joint effusion in the TMJ in patients with pain.

METHODS: TMJ effusion was sought on FS T2-weighted images and conventional T2-weighted images in 400 joints from 200 patients with TMJ-related pain. Self-reported pain records were obtained from patients immediately before MRI and images assessed by the amount of TMJ fluid graded bilaterally using reference films by two radiologists. Other parameters recorded included disk displacement categories and condyle marrow abnormalities. The association between the recorded parameters and TMJ effusion judged by FS-sequences or conventional sequences was analysed using chi-square and Kappa tests.

RESULTS: The detection rate of TMJ effusion by FS-sequences was significantly greater than by conventional methods, and the results showed a significant relationship between MRI interpretation of TMJ effusion using FS-sequences or conventional methods and the presence of pain. The correlation between TMJ effusion on FS-sequences and pain was significantly stronger than the conventional method. Kappa test indicated good agreement between pain and MRI TMJ effusion by FS-sequences (kappa = 0.66), but not by conventional sequences (kappa = 0.56). The other parameters showed a similar trend for TMJ-related pain.

CONCLUSIONS: FS T2-weighted imaging is useful for detection of TMJ effusion, without known causes and confirms the importance of TMJ effusion as an indicator in patients with TMJ-related pain, bone abnormalities, and disk displacement.

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