Gross anatomic and scanning electron microscopic studies on the mandibular condyles of the human cadavers

Okajimas Folia Anat Jpn. 1998 Aug;75(2-3):87-95. doi: 10.2535/ofaj1936.75.2-3_87.


The mandibular condyles of 30 cadavers were examined bilaterally. The greatest medial-lateral lengths and greatest anterior-posterior widths of these condyles were measured with a millimeter caliper. The mean size of the greatest medial-lateral length of the superior surface of the condyle between males and females was significantly different. On the other hand, the mean size of the greatest anterior-posterior width of this surface between males and females was not significant. In gross anatomic examination, 28 of the 60 condyles (46.6%) had a convex articulating surface without having any surface irregularities. However, 32 of the 60 condyles (53.4%) demonstrated irregular articular surfaces with characteristic flattening and eburnation. Half of these surface irregularities were found in the lateral part and a few of them were located in the medial part and superior surface of the condyles. Short, irregular undulations, surface depressions and sharply demarcated microcraters were observed in the SEM examination of mandibular condyles having macroscopic abnormalities. These osseous abnormalities were present in the mandibular condyles of people, who were over the age of 50 years and they were very prominent especially in the ones who were completely edentulous. Therefore remodeling of the articular surface might occur in response to alteration of functional forces within the joints of these aged individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bite Force*
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandibular Condyle / abnormalities
  • Mandibular Condyle / anatomy & histology*
  • Mandibular Condyle / diagnostic imaging
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Ultrasonography