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Odontology. 2010 Feb;98(1):73-81. doi: 10.1007/s10266-009-0115-6. Epub 2010 Feb 16.

Quantification of disc displacement in internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint using magnetic resonance imaging.

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Quantitative Diagnostic Imaging Program, Graduate School of Life Dentistry at Niigata, The Nippon Dental University, Nippon, Japan.


Many measures have been developed to determine the extent of disc displacement in internal derangements of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) using magnetic resonance imaging. The purpose of this study was to develop a quantitative method of analyzing disc position and to evaluate the positions of the disc in internal derangements of the TMJ (group 1, with reduction; group 2, without reduction). Magnetic resonance images of 150 TMJs in 20 healthy volunteers and 55 patients with internal derangements were evaluated. The anatomical points of interest of the TMJ, including the anterior (DA) and posterior (DP) points of the disc, were marked on parasagittal magnetic resonance images of the TMJ disc taken in both the closed- and the open-mouth positions. All points were recorded using an x-y coordinate system, with reference to a referral line. In the closed-mouth position, the DP in patients in group 1 was situated in a more-anterior direction than the DP in volunteers. The DP in group 2 was located further anterior and inferior than the DP in group 1. However, the position of the DA did not differ between group 1 and group 2. In the open-mouth position, the DP was displaced anteroinferiorly to a greater extent in group 2 than in group 1 (one-way ANOVA, followed by Scheffe's test; P < 0.0001). The distance between the disc points in the closed- and open-mouth positions was also evaluated. Comparison of the disc point position in the closed- and open-mouth positions in symptomatic and asymptomatic displaced TMJ discs revealed no significant difference. In conclusion, most of our results quantitatively support previously reported findings in imaging, surgical, and histopathological studies of TMJ internal derangement. We suggest that our measure of disc position of the TMJ would be useful to assess the status and response to treatment of internal derangements of the TMJ.

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