Sensitivity of magnetic resonance imaging and computed axiography in the diagnosis of temporomandibular joint disorders in a selected patient population

Maria Grazia Piancino, Stefano Cirillo, Gianluigi Frongia, Fabrizio Cena, Andrea Adriano Bracco, Paola Dalmasso, Pietro Bracco
International Journal of Prosthodontics 2012, 25 (2): 120-6

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to compare sensitivity differences and interpretative agreement for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed axiography (CA) tracings in a patient population group with temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A convenience sample of 173 patients (53 men, 120 women; mean age: 33.2 ± 2.6 years) diagnosed with TMD was selected for this study. Each patient underwent an evaluation as per the European Academy of Craniomandibular Disorders clinical form as well as MRI and CA.

RESULTS: Use of the MRI results as the gold standard for the planned comparison led to the following observations: a CA sensitivity of 68% for joints without morphologic changes (so-called normal temporomandibular joints [TMJs]), sensitivity of 27% for those with disc displacement, and sensitivity of 8% for those with osteoarthritis. The kappa index, or agreement between the two examination methods, was weak for normal TMJs (0.16), acceptable for anterior disc displacement with reduction (0.28), little for anterior disc displacement without reduction (0.10), and very little for morphologic alterations (0.01).

CONCLUSION: The sensitivity and agreement of the two examination methods was generally low. It was even worse when pathologic changes in the TMJ were more severe. MRI and CA are different examinations that could both be considered for severe TMD diagnosis.

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