Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Imaging

Posted on July 10, 2012

In the past internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint of the jaw and is frequently referred to as TMJ, was evaluated using plain film radiography, arthrography which is invasive and CT scans all of which have a radiation risk associated. More recently MRI has provided a non invasive excellent method of assessing the articular disk, but is time consuming, expensive and uncomfortable for the patient . Many patients are also claustrophobic and the closed MRI scanners tend to be more uncomfortable for these patients.

With the advent of high resolution linear ultrasound probes these provide an excellent visualization of the articular disc and real time capture of the motion of the TMJ and disc is now possible. Ultrasound is a much more readily available technology, it is inexpensive and is not associated with any radiation risk.

We propose ultrasound as the initial screening tool for TMJ pain and for any suspect disc pathology. If the study proves normal the patient needs no further investigation. For any abnormalities detected, the patient can be further investigated with MRI. Our clinic offers this examination and there is no preparation required.