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DOI: 10.1186/s12969-020-00453-6


BACKGROUND: Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) arthritis and involvement is commonly seen in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). Therapy includes conservative measures, but also includes intraarticular corticosteroid injections (IASI) and systemic immunosuppressive therapy. Despite aggressive medical therapy, some patients develop arthritic changes and frank TMJ ankylosis that can result in persistent pain and limitation in range of motion (ROM). A surgical option is prosthetic TMJ replacement with concurrent correction of dentofacial deformities, which can be performed simultaneously. The objective of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of prosthetic TMJ replacement in a cohort of adolescent females with JIA and severe TMJ involvement.

METHODS: This is a retrospective case series that took place at one tertiary care center. Patients with a diagnosis of JIA who also underwent alloplastic TMJ replacement were identified through electronic medical record system (EMR) and reviewed. Chart review included analysis of all documents in the EMR, including demographic data, JIA history, surgical complications, ROM of TMJ measured by maximal incisal opening in millimeters (mm) and TMJ pain scores (4-point Likert scale: none, mild, moderate, severe) obtained pre- and postoperatively.

RESULTS: Five female patients, ages 15-17 year when TMJ replacement was performed, had nine total joints replaced with a post-operative follow-up period of 12-30 months. All patients had polyarticular, seronegative JIA and were treated with IASI and multiple immunosuppressive therapies without resolution of TMJ symptoms. One patient had bilateral TMJ ankylosis. Three of the five patients demonstrated significant dentofacial deformities, and all underwent simultaneous or staged orthognathic surgery. All patients had improvement in TMJ pain with most (80%) reporting no pain, and all had similar or improved ROM of their TMJ postoperatively. There was one delayed postoperative infection with Cutibacterium Acnes that presented 15 months after surgery and required removal and reimplantation of prosthesis.

CONCLUSION: The sequelae of TMJ arthritis and involvement from JIA in the adolescent population can be difficult to treat. Current medical therapy can be successful, however, in select cases that develop chronic changes in the TMJ despite extensive medical therapy, early results show that prosthetic joint replacement maybe a reasonable surgical option. With prosthetic joint replacement pain levels were reduced and range of motion was maintained or improved for all patients.

Journal Title

Pediatr Rheumatol Online J





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Joint replacement; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Temporomandibular joint; Therapy


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