CT and MR of the temporomandibular joint: Comparison with autopsy specimens

P. L. Westesson, Richard W Katzberg, R. H. Tallents, R. E. Sanchez-Woodworth, S. A. Svensson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


CT and MR imaging have been advocated for use in the diagnosis of disorders of the temporomandibular joint. A systematic comparison of these imaging techniques has not been made. We performed direct sagittal CT and sagittal MR on 15 fresh temporomandibular joint autopsy specimens and compared our diagnoses with cryosectional findings in a blinded fashion. We found no statistically significant differences between these procedures in detecting bony abnormalities or disk position. However, a side-by-side comparison between the CT and MR images demonstrated that MR depicted the soft-tissue anatomy of the joint with greater detail than did CT. Thus, MR clearly displayed the disk when it was positioned either superiorly or anteriorly, whereas CT only showed the disk adequately when it was positioned anteriorly. MR further showed the configuration of the disk and the borderlines between the disk and its attachments; these relationships could not be assessed from CT images. This experimental study indicates that MR is superior to CT for depiction of soft-tissue changes, whereas CT is superior in showing osseous abnormalities. Clinical confirmation of these results is necessary before one method can be definitively recommended over the other for clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1171
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'CT and MR of the temporomandibular joint: Comparison with autopsy specimens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this