Utility of corticosteroid injection for temporomandibular arthritis in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Bita Arabshahi, Esi Morgan Dewitt, Ann Marie Cahill, Robin D Kaye, Kevin M Baskin, Richard B Towbin, Randy Q Cron
Arthritis and Rheumatism 2005, 52 (11): 3563-9

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of computed tomography (CT)-guided injection of corticosteroid into the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evidence of TMJ inflammation.

METHODS: Twenty-three children ages 4-16 years with JIA and MRI evidence of TMJ inflammation received CT-guided TMJ injections of corticosteroid (triamcinolone acetonide [n = 16] or triamcinolone hexacetonide [n = 7]). Jaw pain or dysfunction and maximal incisal opening (MIO) distance were assessed before and after injection. Fourteen patients had followup MRI studies of the TMJ 6-12 months after injection.

RESULTS: Of the 13 patients with symptoms of jaw pain prior to corticosteroid treatment, 10 (77%) had complete resolution of pain (P < 0.05). Prior to corticosteroid injection, MIO in all 23 patients was below age-matched normal values. After injection, the MIO was improved by at least 0.5 cm in 10 patients (43%) (P = 0.0017). Patients under 6 years of age at the time of injection showed the best response, with a postinjection MIO similar to that in age-matched controls (P = 0.2267). There was involvement of 23 TMJs in the 14 patients who had followup MRI studies; resolution of effusions was observed in 11 (48%) of the TMJs. Other than short-term facial swelling in 2 patients, there were no side effects.

CONCLUSION: The majority of children with symptomatic TMJ arthritis improved after intraarticular corticosteroid injection. Approximately half the patients experienced significant improvement in MIO and TMJ effusion. These data suggest that corticosteroid injection may be a useful procedure for the prevention and treatment of morbidities associated with TMJ arthritis in JIA.

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