Aims: To assess the effectiveness of intra-articular injections of sodium hyaluronate (NaH) or corticosteroids (CS) for treatment of intracapsular temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
Methods: Single- or double-blinded randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effectiveness of NaH or CS injections, compared to each other or to placebo, for the treatment of intracapsular TMD due to osteoarthritis and/or internal joint derangement were analyzed in this systematic review and meta-analysis. Electronic searches of MEDLINE through the PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases were conducted on March 17, 2015, and an updated search was conducted on June 7, 2017. Three reviewers independently extracted the data and assessed the risk of bias of included studies.
Results: An initial search yielded 245 studies, and 5 additional studies were identified through cross referencing. A total of 22 studies were identified as relevant based on the abstracts, but only 7 RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Six of the included studies had unclear risk of bias, and one had high risk of bias. Four studies were eligible for meta-analysis. Pooled results showed no significant difference in short- or long-term pain improvement with NaH compared to CS. The number of responders to NaH was significantly more than placebo in one study, but not significantly higher than CS in another study.
Conclusion: Although there was no significant difference between the effectiveness of NaH and CS intra-articular injections, there was some evidence that NaH was better than placebo. Further research is needed to determine the minimum effective dose and long-term side effects of both injections.