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J Magn Reson Imaging. 1992 Sep-Oct;2(5):569-74.

MR imaging of temporomandibular joint abnormalities associated with cervical hyperextension/hyperflexion (whiplash) injuries.

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Department of Radiology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.


Patients often have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction-related symptoms after cervical hyperextension/hyperflexion injuries ("whiplash") caused by rear-end motor-vehicle collisions. To determine abnormalities of the TMJ associated with these injuries, 33 consecutive symptomatic patients (66 joints) with no direct trauma to the jaw, mouth, head, or face due to the accident and no prior history of TMJ dysfunction underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and the images were retrospectively analyzed. Overall, 29 (88%) patients had some type of TMJ abnormality related to whiplash injury. Displacement of the disk was seen in 37 (56%) of the TMJs as follows: 21 (32%) had anterior displacement with reduction, nine (14%) had anterior displacement without reduction, six (9%) had lateral or medial displacement, and one (2%) had posterior displacement. On T2-weighted images, 43 (65%) TMJs had abnormal joint fluid or edema, predominantly affecting the joint capsule and/or lateral pterygoid muscles. The finding that many of the patients had joint fluid and/or soft-tissue edema indicates that T2-weighted images are especially useful for assessment of patients with a history of whiplash injury.

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