Fifty-one subjects with documented intra-articular pathology refractory to non-surgical therapy underwent temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disc repositioning surgery. Following surgery, subjects were evaluated for 6 months to 6 years by clinical examinations and questionnaires at designated times, and by postsurgical joint imaging. Significant decreases were noted in pain (headache, TMJ pain, ear pain, and neck/shoulder pain), the incidence of joint sounds and locking, and the presence of dietary restrictions. However, 35% of the subjects continued to have residual TMJ pain, and a similar percentage continued to need periodic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for analgesia. Some degree of dietary restriction remained in approximately 50% of the subjects, and joint sounds persisted in a similar percentage following surgery. Mean mouth opening was improved by 8 mm, although lateral movements were increased by less than 0.5 mm. Surgery did not decrease the occurrence of jaw deviation, and disc position was unchanged in 86% of the joints imaged at an average of 2 years following surgery. Although TMJ disc repositioning surgery significantly improved pain and dysfunction in TMJ surgery patients, the improvement in disc position was not maintained in most subjects following surgery. © 1992.
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