Knee orthopedics as a template for the temporomandibular joint

Benjamin J. Bielajew, Ryan P. Donahue, M. Gabriela Espinosa, Boaz Arzi, Dean Wang, David C. Hatcher, Nikolaos K. Paschos, Mark E.K. Wong, Jerry C. Hu, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Although the knee joint and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) experience similar incidence of cartilage ailments, the knee orthopedics field has greater funding and more effective end-stage treatment options. Translational research has resulted in the development of tissue-engineered products for knee cartilage repair, but the same is not true for TMJ cartilages. Here, we examine the anatomy and pathology of the joints, compare current treatments and products for cartilage afflictions, and explore ways to accelerate the TMJ field. We examine disparities, such as a 6-fold higher article count and 2,000-fold higher total joint replacement frequency in the knee compared to the TMJ, despite similarities in osteoarthritis incidence. Using knee orthopedics as a template, basic and translational research will drive the development and implementation of clinical products for the TMJ. With more funding opportunities, training programs, and federal guidance, millions of people afflicted with TMJ disorders could benefit from novel, life-changing therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100241
JournalCell Reports Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 18 2021


  • cartilage
  • knee joint
  • oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • orthopedic surgery
  • osteoarthritis
  • temporomandibular disorder
  • temporomandibular joint
  • tissue engineering
  • TMJ disc
  • translational medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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