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J Ultrasound. 2010 Mar;13(1):34-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jus.2009.09.008. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

Sonographic evaluation of the temporomandibular joints in juvenile idiopathic arthritis().

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Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Rheumatology, University of Florence, Italy.


in English, Italian


Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) may cause damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). In oligoarticular forms of JIA, TMJ involvement is often asymptomatic and consequently overlooked. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of TMJ joint effusion (JE) by ultrasonography (US) in patients with early arthritis.


We examined 68 children (57 girls, 11 boys, age range 9.1-16.0 years, mean age 11.0 years) recently diagnosed with JIA. None had received any specific treatment for inflammation. Symptomatic TMJ involvement was diagnosed when one or more of the following were present: 1) recurrent pain (spontaneous or on movement of the jaw); 2) crepitation; 3) feeling of stiffness or fatigue of the jaw; 4) intermittent locking. US of the TMJ was performed in static and dynamic phases with a General Electric LOGIQ7 scanner and a linear transducer (8.5 MHz) positioned along the axis of the mandibular ramus. JE was diagnosed when the joint capsule was ≥1.5 mm thick.


Forty-six out (68%) of 68 children had US evidence of TMJ effusions (bilateral in 16 [35%] cases), but only 2/46 were symptomatic.


These data suggest that children with early stage oligoarticular JIA children are likely to have inflammation of the TMJs even in the absence of symptoms. US is a simple-to-use, noninvasive, radiation-free tool that can provide useful information in the assessment and follow-up of TMJ involvement in children and young adults with JIA.


Early JIA; Oligo-articular onset; TMJ; Ultrasonography

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