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Vet Surg. 2009 Jul;38(5):601-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2009.00536.x.

A tangential radiographic projection for investigation of the equine temporomandibular joint.

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Division of Veterinary Clinical Science, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK.



To (1) describe a tangential radiographic projection of the equine temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and (2) optimize the radiographic angle and determine its use in standing sedated horses.


Descriptive study.


Cadaveric equine skulls (n=11); 8 horses with a history of quidding or headshaking.


Tangential radiographic projections were taken of a TMJ of a cadaveric skull before and after intra-articular injection of radiographic contrast. Additional tangential radiographic projections were taken after TMJ dissection and placement of a wire along the articular surface of the mandibular condyle. Subsequently, 3 tangential radiographs were taken of both TMJs of 10 skulls at 75 degrees , 70 degrees , and 65 degrees to the dorsal plane (Rt/Le15Cd70D-Le/RtRVO). Each of the 3 images for each TMJ was ranked by 4 observers who were unaware of the projection angle. Interobserver variation was calculated using a Friedman analysis of variance and significance of the most prevalent angle with a 1-sample repeated measures test. Tangential radiographic projections of both TMJs were then taken of 8 standing sedated horses.


Tangential radiographic projections allowed the lateral half of the TMJ to be viewed without superimposition of other structures and the anatomic orientation was determined. A 70 degrees projection to the dorsal plane was ranked as significantly better than other views (P<.001). There was no significant interobserver variation and the technique was safely performed in standing sedated horses with excellent image quality obtained.


Tangential radiography of the TMJ may complement and add to information obtained from clinical examination and ultrasonography before referral for more advanced imaging techniques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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