Fifty one subjects who had pain involving the temporomandibular joint were evaluated using multidirectional tomography, arthrography, conventional nuclear scanning, and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to assess the association of arthritis of the temporomandibular joint with internal derangements related to meniscal dysfunction. Five (56%) of the nine subjects who had normal arthrograms and normal multidirectional tomograms had SPECT scans that were positive for osseous changes. Twenty-two subjects (27 temporomandibular joints) were diagnosed by arthrography to have meniscal displacement with reduction. Multidirectional tomograms of the 27 joints were positive for osseous changes in five (18%) joints, whereas SPECT scans were positive in nine (70%) joints. Twenty subjects (20 temporomandibular joints) had an arthrographic diagnosis of meniscal displacement without reduction. Multidirectional tomograms of the 20 joints were positive for osseous changes in 14 (70%) joints, and SPECT scans were positive in 16 (80%) joints (P < 0.001 vs control group). Initial observations with SPECT indicate it is a promising imaging method for detecting and staging osseous disease of the TMJ related to meniscal dysfunction.
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