High condylectomy and disc repositioning compared to arthroscopic lysis, lavage, and capsular stretch for the treatment of chronic closed lock of the temporomandibular joint

Massimo Politi, Salvatore Sembronio, Massimo Robiony, Fabio Costa, Corrado Toro, Gerhard Undt
Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics 2007, 103 (1): 27-33

OBJECTIVE: The article shows the 1-yr results comparing the efficacy of open-surgery high condylectomy and disc repositioning and the arthroscopic procedure of lysis, lavage and capsular stretch in patients with chronic closed lock of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

STUDY DESIGN: Twenty patients with a clinical and radiologic diagnosis of chronic closed lock were randomly chosen to be treated with either open surgery or arthroscopy. Each patient was evaluated with a visual analog scale (VAS) for pain and a mandibular functional impairment questionnaire (MFIQ). The evaluation also included a clinical examination. Each patient was recorded at baseline before surgery and at 1-yr follow-up. Statistical analysis was made to evaluate whether differences in MFIQ, VAS, maximum opening and protrusion, lateral joint tenderness, muscle tenderness, crepitation, and clicking at 1-yr follow-up from baseline were significant. Results were considered statistically significant when P < .05.

RESULTS: Both open surgery and arthroscopic surgery reduced pain and improved mandibular function. The severity of pain was significantly reduced in both groups (P = .005). In both the open and arthroscopy groups mandibular function improved significantly (P = .005). The clinical examination showed similar good results for the 2 surgical procedures. At 1-yr follow-up a majority of patients from both the open (80% of the patients) and the arthroscopy (70% of the patients) groups fulfilled the criterion of a cutoff point for maximum interincisal opening of equal or more than 35 mm (P = 0.005); all the patients in both groups fulfilled the criterion of the cutoff point for maximum protrusion of more than 5 mm (P = .007). At 1-yr follow-up, clicking was the same as before surgical procedures; no patient in the open group showed crepitation, but crepitation was found in patients in the arthroscopy group. Joint tenderness and pain on lateral palpation as well as muscle tenderness and pain were reduced in all the cases, disappearing in some of them, but the difference was significant only regarding joint tenderness (open surgery, P = .016; arthroscopy, P = .031).

CONCLUSIONS: Open-surgery high condylectomy and disc repositioning and the arthroscopic procedure of lysis, lavage and capsular stretch are both effective surgical methods to treat symptomatic patients with a diagnosis of chronic closed lock of the TMJ. Because of the minimally invasive character of the arthroscopic procedure, it should be considered as the first choice in the surgical treatment of the TMJ.

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