Objectives: To investigate the long-term success (10-year results) of arthroscopic surgery of the temporomandibular joint.
Patients and method: A survey was undertaken of 37 patients who had been treated with arthroscopic surgery for TMJ internal derangement from 1986 to 1990. Thirty-three patients responded, of whom 30 were women and three men, whose age at surgery ranged from 14 to 77 years (mean: 35.1 years). The mean follow-up period was 10 years and 2 months. All patients rated their pain level on a visual analogue scale (VAS), and also recorded pain, jaw dysfunction, and activities of daily living (ADL) before surgery, and at the time of the survey. Interincisal opening was self-assessed (mm). Pre- and postoperative pain, dysfunction and ADL scores were compared for outcome and statistically analyzed with the Student's t-test.
Results: Intensity of pain as rated on the VAS was significantly reduced from 5.15 to 0.34 (p<0.01). Pain, dysfunction and ADL scores also decreased from 8.25 to 1.09, 6.5 to 1.93, and 9.1 to 1.32, respectively (p<0.01). At the preoperative examination, 36 of the 37 patients showed limited jaw opening of less than 38 mm, reduced to only three postoperatively. For the success rate of TMJ surgery, the responding 33 plus data of one re-operated patient were assessed. Of these, 27 were rated as excellent, four as good, and three (including two re-operated patients) as poor. The success rate was 83.8% when three patients who did not respond were included in the data.
Conclusion: The long-term, 10 year outcome of TMJ arthroscopic surgery was considered to be acceptable and stable when compared with other surgical procedures and with the results of previously published middle to long-term treatment outcome studies.