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Equine Vet J. 2010 Apr;42(3):200-7. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2010.00030.x.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the equine temporomandibular joint anatomy.

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Department of Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary School, University of Murcia, 30100 Espinardo, Murcia, Spain.



In human medicine, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered the 'gold standard' imaging procedure to assess the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). However, there is no information regarding MRI evaluation of equine TMJ.


To describe the normal sectional MRI anatomy of equine TMJ by using frozen and plastinated anatomical sections as reference; and determine the best imaging planes and sequences to visualise TMJ components.


TMJs from 6 Spanish Purebred horse cadavers (4 immature and 2 mature) underwent MRI examination. Spin-echo T1-weighting (SE T1W), T2*W, fat-suppressed (FS) proton density-weighting (PDW) and fast spin-echo T2-weighting (FSE T2W) sequences were obtained in oblique sagittal, transverse and dorsal planes. Anatomical sections were procured on the same planes for a thorough interpretation.


The oblique sagittal and transverse planes were the most informative anatomical planes. SE T1W images showed excellent spatial resolution and resulted in superior anatomic detail when comparing to other sequences. FSE T2W sequence provided an acceptable anatomical depiction but T2*W and fat-suppressed PDW demonstrated higher contrast in visualisation of the disc, synovial fluid, synovial pouches and articular cartilage.


The SE T1W sequence in oblique sagittal and transverse plane should be the baseline to identify anatomy. The T2*W and fat-suppressed PDW sequences enhance the study of the articular cartilage and synovial pouches better than FSE T2W.


The information provided in this paper should aid clinicians in the interpretation of MRI images of equine TMJ and assist in the early diagnosis of those problems that could not be diagnosed by other means.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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