Analysis of magnetic resonance imaging characteristics and pain in temporomandibular joints with and without degenerative changes of the condyle

M I G Campos, P S F Campos, M C T Cangussu, R C Guimarães, S R P Line
International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 2008, 37 (6): 529-34
The aim of this study was to investigate temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and magnetic resonance imaging characteristics in 104 TMJs with and 58 without degenerative changes of the condyle, such as osteophytes, erosion, avascular necrosis, subcondral cyst and intra-articular loose bodies. TMJ images were also assessed for flattening, retropositioning and hypomobility of condyle and disc displacement. Comparison of the TMJ side-related data showed a significant relationship between disc displacement without reduction (DDwoR) and the presence of degenerative bony changes (p=0.00). Flattening, retropositioning and hypomobility of condyle showed no significant difference in relation to the presence or absence of degenerative bony changes. Retropositioning of the condyle was significantly associated to disc displacement with reduction (DDwR) (p=0.00), while condylar hypomobility was significantly more frequent in TMJ with DDwoR (p<0.05). Independent of the presence or type of DD, TMJ pain was more frequent in the presence of degenerative bony changes. When considering only DDwR, TMJ pain was significantly associated to a degenerative condition (p=0.03). When there were no degenerative bony changes, TMJ pain was significantly more frequent in DDwoR (p=0.04). Despite the present findings, the absence of symptoms in some patients with condylar bony changes suggests that the diagnosis of osteoarthritis should be established by evaluation of magnetic resonance images in association with clinical examination.

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