Arthroscopic management of septic arthritis of temporomandibular joint

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This article reports on 7 patients with septic arthritis of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) who were managed with arthroscopy between 1998 and 2007. The common symptoms were trismus and pain. A series of imaging studies showed widening of joint space in 1 patient with plain film; MRI demonstrated increased joint effusion in 4 patients; accompanying cellulitis in adjacent tissues was discerned by CT in 2 patients. Under the arthroscope, a reddened and swollen synovial membrane was found in 2 patients who were in the acute stage, whereas strong adhesions, destruction of cartilage, and bony defects were discovered in other 5 patients in the chronic stage. Additionally, the disc was ruptured in 3 patients, and fibrosis was confirmed for 2 patients. Lavage, lysis of adhesion, and debridement of articular surface were common procedures for treatments. The average follow-up period was 57.4 months, and no recurrence was found. Arthroscopy has proven to be a useful method for management of septic arthritis of TMJ, especially for patients in the chronic stage.

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