MRI device with technician in forground.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

Magnetic resonance imaging is a medical modality which allows visualization of body components without the use of x-rays. Instead it uses strong electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation (radio waves) to make the pictures. It is especially useful for imaging joints and is the ideal way to see structural changes in the TMJ. Some examples of MRI's of the TMJ will be shown here.


Cross section of a TMJ with an MRI of the same tissue to the right. (39K jpeg) Dense bone, the disc, blood vessels and air appear black, muscle appears gray and bone marrow and brain tissue white.





MRI of a normal joint. (8K jpeg) The closed view is on the left and the open view is on the right. Note that the disc (red arrow) travels with the condyle (green arrow) as it moves down and forward on opening.





MRI of a non-reducing disc displacement. (9K jpeg) The closed view is on the left and the open view is on the right. Note that the disc (red arrow) remains in front of the condyle (green arrow) on opening and appears to fold. The amount of forward movement of the condyle is restricted due to the obstruction of the disc. This patient therefore had limited opening known as a "closed lock".





MRI of a non-reducing disc displacement with severe destruction of the condyle (green arrow). (7K jpeg) The closed view is on the left and the open view is on the right. Note that the disc (red arrow) remains in front of the condyle on opening as in the previous image. However, the forward movement of the condyle is not restricted due to the chronic nature of this patients disease. The patient gradually pushed the disc out of the way and has no limited opening. The destructionof the condyle is caused by advanced osteoarthritis.





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