Although arthrocentesis is an accepted safe treatment modality for the management of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) in symptomatic patients, the benefit of hyaluronic acid (HA) injections remains uncertain. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether intra-articular HA injections adjunctive to arthrocentesis can be more effective than other medications for the improvement of TMD associated symptoms. Additionally, the impact of HA injections on quality of life of TMD patients was assessed with SF-36® questionnaire in a cohort of patients. An electronic search of Medline, Scopus and Cochrane databases was performed up to March 2020. The following search terms were used: "arthrocentesis", "hyaluronic acid", "intra-articular injections", "visco-supplementation", "temporomandibular disorders". Prospective and retrospective studies that reported the application of HA injections compared to other intra-articular drugs for the treatment of temporomandibular disorders were included. Systematic or narrative reviews and pre-clinical studies were excluded. Additionally, a retrospective clinical study was performed for evaluation of changes in quality of life before and after arthrocentesis with HA injections. In the systematic review, the initial search yielded 1327 articles. After screening of the titles, abstracts, and full texts, 29 studies were selected (26 randomized studies, 2 controlled clinical trials, 1 retrospective report). In the clinical study, 12 patients were included. Intra-articular injections of HA and other medications together with arthrocentesis seemed to be beneficial for improvement of functional symptoms of TMD and pain. The case series also supported the efficacy of HA injections showing an improvement of quality of life of these patients. However, from literature review, it was impossible to identify an optimum drug or a protocol for predictably improving the pain and/or functional symptoms of temporomandibular problems, due to different etiologies, diversity of treatment modalities and conflicting results. In conclusion, there is no consensus in the literature that HA injections shows better results in comparison with other treatment modalities. According to the results of the present clinical study, HA injections with/without arthrocentesis seems to be beneficial in terms of clinical symptoms and quality of life of the TMD patients.
Keywords: arthrocentesis; hyaluronic acid; intra-articular injections; quality of life; temporomandibular disorders.
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