MRI of the temporomandibular joint: what shows?


Disruption of the normal functions of the temporomandibular joint is one of the most frequent pathological conditions, which appeal to the trauma surgeons, dentists, maxillofacial surgeons. For the detection of pathological changes of bone, soft tissue, mandible and maxilla prescribe an MRI of the temporomandibular joint.

Among the reasons that cause damage to the joint, isolated traumatic injuries, local degenerative changes and systemic diseases in which there is a failure of all the joints. Errors in the prosthesis, the permanent tension of the jaw muscles during times of stress, malocclusion are common causes of disorders of the work of the joint.

  • diagnosis before orthopedic treatment or surgery on the jaw;
  • evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment;
  • questionable results of other diagnostic methods.

MRI shows almost everyone, except persons who have:

  • metallic foreign body (shrapnel);
  • implants made of Nickel, titanium, of metal;
  • metal crowns or pins;
  • pacemaker;
  • mental disorders;
  • claustrophobia;
  • hearing aid.

Women in the first trimester of pregnancy should be sure to inform your doctor or radiologist.

Features of the examination

MRI reveals inflammation, necrosis, pathological changes in bone, such as osteomyelitis, tooth infections (abscess, purulent diseases of the lower jaw). Planning, treatment of diseases of the maxillofacial system is carried out only after a thorough diagnosis. X-ray examination gives a General idea about the condition of the jaw joints. MRI is standard in the study of soft tissue structures. When scanning is well visualized ligaments, muscles.

An MRI examination reveals abnormalities of the structures of the joint:

  • erosion of the articular cartilage;
  • the displacement of the disk relative to the head bone;
  • effusion in the joint cavity.
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MRI has the ability to conduct dynamic research in the mouth opening. Because of this scan doctors can identify how there has been a shift disk to determine changes in the ligaments, contractile ability of muscles. Obtained an objective picture allows oral and maxillofacial surgeons, dentists and other professionals to choose the optimal treatment program.

Preparation of the patient and the results of the survey

Special preparation before the test isn’t required. If a person has nervousness before MRI, it is recommended to drink a sedative. When painful feelings during stationary position on the back, you can take a painkiller. It is recommended to take the results of previous examinations and medical records.

The methodology of the

MRI of the temporomandibular joint, takes from 40 minutes to 1 hour. In cases of suspected cancer tumors, pathology of soft tissue the examination is performed with intravenous contrast.

Before examination it is necessary to remove all metal objects and jewelry. During the MRI, the patient needs calm and to lie still, and execute commands of the doctor. Optionally, it is possible to wear ear plugs, as in the tunnel of the machine where the calls table with a patient very noisy.

Women are advised not to wear a bra with underwire or metal clasps, as before the test it will have to be removed.

After the examination, the radiologist assesses the state of the temporomandibular joint. In the description indicate features of the structure, the presence or absence of dysplasia of connective tissue, the configuration of traumatic injuries, the condition of blood vessels, degenerative changes in bone and cartilage tissues. The examination allows to detect the tumor of any etiology between 1 mm and metastases. Finally, the radiologist along with the images given to the patient. MRI results help your doctor to choose further tactics of treatment.