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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 May 11;(5):CD006385. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006385.pub2.

Arthroscopy for temporomandibular disorders.

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Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Rua Espirito Santo, 536, Londrina, Brazil, 86010 510.

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Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are considered a collection of disorders involving many organic, psychological and psychosocial factors. They can involve the masticatory muscles or the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and associated structures, or both. It is estimated that 40% to 75% of the population displays at least one sign of the disease and 33% of the population reports at least one symptom. Arthroscopy has been used to reduce signs and symptoms of patients with TMD but the effectiveness has still not been totally explained.


To assess the effectiveness of arthroscopy for the management of signs and symptoms in patients with TMDs.


The Cochrane Oral Health Group Trials Register (to 23 December 2010), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2010), MEDLINE via OVID (1950 to 23 December 2010), EMBASE via OVID (1980 to 23 December 2010), LILACS via BIREME Virtual Health Library (1982 to 23 December 2010), Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED) via OVID (1985 to 23 December 2010), CINAHL via EBSCO (1980 to 23 December 2010). There were no restrictions regarding the language or date of publication.


Randomized controlled clinical trials of arthroscopy for treating TMDs were included.


Two review authors independently extracted data, and three review authors independently assessed the risk of bias of included trials. The authors of the selected articles were contacted for additional information.


Seven randomized controlled trials (n = 349) met the inclusion criteria. All studies were either at high or unclear risk of bias. The outcome pain was evaluated after 6 months in two studies. No statistically significant differences were found between the arthroscopy versus nonsurgical groups (standardized mean difference (SMD) = 0.004; 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.46 to 0.55, P = 0.81). Two studies, analyzed pain 12 months after surgery (arthroscopy and arthrocentesis) in 81 patients. No statistically significant differences were found (mean difference (MD) = 0.10; 95% CI -1.46 to 1.66, P = 0.90). Three studies analyzed the same outcome in patients who had been submitted to arthroscopic surgery or to open surgery and a statistically significant difference was found after 12 months (SMD = 0.45; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.89, P = 0.05) in favor of open surgery. The two studies compared the maximum interincisal opening in six different clinical outcomes (interincisal opening over 35 mm; maximum protrusion over 5 mm; click; crepitation; tenderness on palpation in the TMJ and the jaw muscles 12 months after arthroscopy and open surgery). The outcome measures did not present statistically significant differences (odds ratio (OR) = 1.00; 95% CI 0.45 to 2.21, P = 1.00). Two studies compared the maximum interincisal opening after 12 months of postsurgical follow-up. A statistically significant difference in favor of the arthroscopy group was observed (MD = 5.28; 95% CI 3.46 to 7.10, P < 0.0001). The two studies compared the mandibular function after 12 months of follow-up with 40 patients evaluated. The outcome measure was mandibular functionality (MFIQ). This difference was not statistically significant (MD = 1.58; 95% CI -0.78 to 3.94, P = 0.19).  


Both arthroscopy and nonsurgical treatments reduced pain after 6 months. When compared with arthroscopy, open surgery was more effective at reducing pain after 12 months. Nevertheless, there were no differences in mandibular functionality or in other outcomes in clinical evaluations. Arthroscopy led to greater improvement in maximum interincisal opening after 12 months than arthrocentesis; however, there was no difference in pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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