The temporomandibular (TM) joint is one of the most used joints in the human body, and any defect in this joint has a significant influence on quality of life. The objective of this study was to create a parametric numerical finite element (FE) analysis to compare the effect of surgical techniques used for total TM joint replacement implantation on loading the TM joint on the other side. Our hypothesis is that for the optimal function of all total TM joint replacements used in clinical practice it is crucial to devise a minimally invasive surgical technique, whereby there is minimum resection of masticatory muscles. This factor is more important than the design of the usually used total TM joint replacements. The extent of muscle resection influences the mechanical loading of the whole system. In the parametric FE analyses, the magnitude of the TM joint loading was compared for four different ranges of muscle resections during bite, using an anatomical model. The results obtained from all FE analyses support our hypothesis that an increasing extent of the muscle resection increased the magnitude of the TM joint overloading on the opposite side. The magnitude of the TM joint overloading increased depending on the muscle resection to 235% for bite on an incisor and up to 491% for bite on molars. Our study leads to a recommendation that muscle resection be minimised during replacement implantation and to a proposal that the attachment of the condylar part of the TM joint replacement be modified.
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