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Arthroscopic Anatomy of the Equine Temporomandibular Joint

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To develop an arthroscopic approach to, and describe the arthroscopic anatomy of, the equine temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Study Design

Cadaveric study, after which the technique was tested in horses. Animals or Sample Population

Ten cadaveric equine heads and 5 normal horses (age, 5–13 years; weight, 425–545 kg). Methods

Specimens or horses were positioned in right lateral recumbency. After fluid distention of the TMJ, arthroscopic portals were made in the dorsal compartment over the most prominent portion of the joint outpouching (caudodorsal approach) and in rostral and intermediate locations. The joint was explored and photographed. Positional changes in the mandible were made to determine if observation of the joint could be improved. Instrument portals were created to assess the feasibility of surgical arthroscopy. Cadaveric heads were dissected to assess iatrogenic damage, whereas experimental horses were observed for postoperative complications for 30 days. Results

A caudodorsal arthroscopic approach provided the best evaluation of the dorsal compartment of the TMJ. The approach allowed observation of the rostral and caudal synovial pouches and the lateral aspect of the joint including the articular disc. Examination of the medial aspect of the joint was limited to the most rostral and caudal aspects. Access to the lateral aspect of the ventral compartment of the TMJ was precluded by the position of the transverse facial artery and vein. In specimens, iatrogenic damage was minimal and limited to the articular fibrocartilage, articular disc, and penetration of the parotid salivary gland. If the latter also occurred in horses, no adverse effects were noted. In horses, mild fluid extravasation occurred and resolved within 1 day. All horses ate normally after surgery but had periarticular swelling and mild pain upon palpation of the TMJ for 2 days. Conclusions

A caudodorsal arthroscopic approach to the TMJ allowed adequate observation of the lateral aspect of the dorsal compartment of the joint. Access to the ventral compartment was precluded by the location of the transverse facial artery and vein. Clinical Relevance

Conditions affecting the lateral and caudal aspects of the dorsal compartment of the TMJ should be visible by arthroscopy.

©Copyright 2001 by The American College of Veterinary Surgeons
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg, VA; and Drs Gregg and Howard Ltd, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Blacksburg, VA.

Publication date: 01 November 2001

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