The aim of the present pilot investigation was to compare the effectiveness of six treatment protocols providing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) arthrocentesis with or without additional drugs to manage symptoms in patients with inflammatory-degenerative TMJ disease. A consecutive series of 72 patients with TMJ osteoarthritis (axis group IIIb) with pain lasting from more than 6 months were randomly assigned to one of the groups receiving the following treatment protocols: single-session two-needle arthrocentesis (A), single-session two-needle arthrocentesis plus corticosteroid (B), single-session two-needle arthrocentesis plus low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HA) (C), single-session two-needle arthrocentesis plus high molecular weight HA (D), 5 weekly two-needle arthrocenteses plus low molecular weight HA (E) and 5 weekly single-needle arthrocenteses plus low molecular weight HA (F). At the 3-month follow-up, improvement with respect to mean baseline values was recorded in all the five treatment groups completing the protocol. No significant differences emerged between groups in any outcome variable. The protocol providing five sessions of two-needle arthrocenteses plus low molecular weight HA allowed achieving the highest improvement in almost all the outcome variables. Findings suggested that no statistically significant differences existed between the treatment groups. The clinical significance of these findings needs to be tested with future studies on larger samples with longer follow-up periods.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.