Purpose of review: This article reviews the reconstructive techniques commonly employed in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) surgery with an emphasis on recent developments in the field.
Recent findings: TMJ reconstruction remains one of the most challenging tasks faced by surgeons who operate in the head and neck, with a variety of autogenous and alloplastic techniques available. The role of alloplastic TMJ reconstruction needs to be reassessed in light of recent literature showing excellent long-term functional outcomes, which reflect advances in prosthetic materials and surgical technique. More recently, transport distraction osteogenesis has been applied to reconstruction of the ramus-condyle unit with promising early results suggesting it may ultimately become the standard of care in selected patients providing a cost-effective approach with low morbidity and excellent functional outcomes.
Summary: The myriad of available TMJ reconstructive options reflect the fact that it remains an evolving field. Although no gold standard currently exists, the various techniques each have their own proponents and potential advantages and drawbacks. Ultimately, the reconstructive surgeon must consider the ablative defect and underlying pathology, the needs of the individual patient, the resources of the providing institution and the capabilities of the surgical team.