Temporomandibular joint imaging: current clinical applications, biochemical comparison with the intervertebral disc and knee meniscus, and opportunities for advancement

Skeletal Radiol. 2020 Aug;49(8):1183-1193. doi: 10.1007/s00256-020-03412-0. Epub 2020 Mar 11.


Temporomandibular disorders encompass multiple pathologies of the temporomandibular joint that manifest as middle/inner ear symptoms, headache, and/or localized TMJ symptoms. There is an important although somewhat limited role of imaging in the diagnostic evaluation of temporomandibular disorders. In this manuscript, we provide a comprehensive review of TMJ anatomy, outline potentially important features of TMJ disc ultrastructure and biochemistry in comparison with the intervertebral disc and knee meniscus, and provide imaging examples of the TMJ abnormalities currently evaluable with MRI and CT. In addition, we provide an overview of emerging and investigational TMJ imaging techniques in order to encourage further imaging research based on the biomechanical alterations of the TMJ disc.

Keywords: Computed tomography; Magnetic resonance imaging; Temporomandibular joint.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / anatomy & histology
  • Intervertebral Disc / chemistry
  • Intervertebral Disc / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Menisci, Tibial / anatomy & histology
  • Menisci, Tibial / chemistry
  • Menisci, Tibial / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporomandibular Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Temporomandibular Joint / chemistry
  • Temporomandibular Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / metabolism
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed