Design and clinical outcome of a novel 3D-printed prosthetic joint replacement for the human temporomandibular joint

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Stock prosthetic temporomandibular joint replacements come in limited sizes, and do not always encompass the joint anatomy that presents clinically. The aims of this study were twofold. Firstly, to design a personalized prosthetic total joint replacement for the treatment of a patient's end-stage temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis, to implant the prosthesis into the patient, and assess clinical outcome 12-months post-operatively; and secondly, to evaluate the influence of changes in prosthetic condyle geometry on implant load response during mastication.


A 48-year-old female patient with Grade-5 osteoarthritis to the left temporomandibular joint was recruited, and a prosthesis developed to match the native temporomandibular joint anatomy. The prosthesis was 3D printed, sterilized and implanted into the patient, and pain and function measured 12-months post-operatively. The prosthesis load response during a chewing-bite and maximum-force bite was evaluated using a personalized multi-body musculoskeletal model. Simulations were performed after perturbing condyle thickness, neck length and head sphericity.


Increases in prosthetic condyle neck length malaligned the mandible and perturbed temporomandibular joint force. Changes in condylar component thickness greatly influenced fixation screw stress response, while a more eccentric condylar head increased prosthetic joint-contact loading. Post-operatively, the prosthetic temporomandibular joint surgery reduced patient pain from 7/10 to 1/10 on a visual analog scale, and increased intercisal opening distance from 22 mm to 38 mm.


This study demonstrates effectiveness of a personalized prosthesis that may ultimately be adapted to treat a wide-range of end-stage temporomandibular joint conditions, and highlights sensitivity of prosthesis load response to changes in condylar geometry.

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