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Synovial chondromatosis of the temporomandibular joint: a case report and literature review

Lucas S Reed, Michael D Foster, John W Hudson
Cranio: the Journal of Craniomandibular Practice 2013, 31 (4): 309-13
Synovial chondromatosis (SC) is a pathologic condition in which mesenchymal tissue rests in a given synovial membrane undergo a metaplastic process, ultimately producing and secreting cartilaginous bodies into the joint space. It is more commonly discussed in the orthopedic literature, since the axial skeleton is the most frequently affected. Although rare, it does occur within the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), with approximately 100 cases previously being described. Within the TMJ, its presentation can be variable, though most cases will show it to be unilateral with fixed and/or loose cartilaginous bodies confined to the superior joint space. Clinically, patients may present with symptoms similar to that of an internal derangement disorder, including pain, clicking, tenderness, functional limitations, and swelling. A thorough history and physical examination, along with proper radiographic examination, are paramount in properly diagnosing SC. Treatment options consist of arthroscopy, arthrotomy with synovectomy, excision of cartilaginous bodies, and possible discectomy. In the current paper, the authors describe the presentation, diagnosis, and surgical management of a SC case involving the right TMJ in a 31-year-old Caucasian female.

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