Osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint

Dr Henry Knipe and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the end point of long-standing TMJ dysfunction. It is a common finding incidentally on a base of skull imaging, and it should be remembered that TMJ pain does not correlate well with osteoarthritic changes. Indeed pain from TMJ dysfunction is often self-limiting.

Radiographic features 

Changes are usually more evident on the condylar side of the joint:

  • flattening: common (in one series 27%)
  • osteophytes: common (27%)
  • erosions: 13%
  • sclerosis: less common (9%)
  • subchondral cysts

Treatment and prognosis

Symptomatic treatment usually involves the intra-articular injection of hyaluronic acid, corticosteroids, diclofenac, or glucosamine 4. Injection can be preceded by arthrocentesis (joint lavage). Definitive treatment consists of prosthetic replacement of parts of the joint 5.

Arthritides
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Article information

rID: 5524
System: Head & Neck
Tag: refs, jaw
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Osteoarthritis of the TMJ
  • TMJ OA
  • OA TMJ
  • Osteoarthrosis of the TMJ
  • TMJ degenerative joint disease
  • TMJ osteoarthritis
  • Temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis
  • Temporomandibular joint osteoarthrosis
  • TMJ osteoarthrosis

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2: left sided OA
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  • Case 3
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  • Closed
    Case 4: severe OA
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  • Closed
    Case 5: sclerosis - closed
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  • Case 6: hypertrophy and flattening
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  • Case 7: large osteophytes
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