Can ultrasonography be used to assess capsular distention in the painful temporomandibular joint?

Ji Hoi Kim, Jung Hyun Park, Jin Woo Kim, Sun Jong Kim

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5 Scopus citations


Background: To determine whether capsular distention in the painful temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can be assessed by ultrasonography, we compared the capsular width between painful TMJs and painless TMJ. The risk factors for TMJ pain were also investigated including capsular width and other clinical factors such as TMJ sounds that may affect the occurrence and persistence of TMJ pain. Methods: TMJ ultrasonography was performed on 87 temporomandibular disorder (TMD) patients, including 47 unilateral and 29 bilateral TMJ pain patients, and 11 patients without TMJ pain. Results: The capsular width was greater in the 105 painful joints than in the 69 painless joints. Considering individual anatomical variations, the differences between painful and painless joints in unilateral TMJ pain patients were also analyzed, revealing a greater width in painful joints. Capsular width was a risk factor for TMJ pain with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.496 (95% confidence interval 1.312–1.706; p < 0.001) and was significantly correlated with pain scores. Conclusion: This correlation may suggest that pain intensity is associated with widened capsular width because of joint effusion or synovitis. Further studies are required to refine and establish the protocols for standard examinations using ultrasound imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number497
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Capsular width
  • Joint pain
  • Temporomandibular disorder
  • Temporomandibular joint
  • Ultrasonography


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