Magnetic resonance imaging features of the temporomandibular joint in normal dogs

Macready DM, Hecht S, Craig LE, et al. 

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2010;51:436-440.

Evaluation of the canine temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is important in the clinical diagnosis of animals presenting with dysphagia, malocclusion and jaw pain. In humans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the modality of choice for evaluation of the TMJ. The objectives of this study were to establish a technical protocol for performing MRI of the canine TMJ and describe the MRI anatomy and appearance of the normal canine TMJ. Ten dogs (one fresh cadaver and nine healthy live dogs) were imaged. MRIs were compared with cadaveric tissue sections. T1-weighted (T1-W) transverse closed-mouth, T1-W sagittal closed-mouth, T1-W sagittal open-mouth, and T2-W sagittal open-mouth sequences were obtained. The condylar process of the mandible and the mandibular fossa of the temporal bone were hyperintense to muscle and isointense to hypointense to fat on T1-W images, mildly hyperintense to muscle on T2-W images, and were frequently heterogeneous. The articular disc was visible in 14/20 (70%) TMJs on T1-W images and 13/20 (65%) TMJs on T2-W images. The articular disc was isointense to hyperintense to muscle on T1-W images and varied from hypointense to hyperintense to muscle on T2-W images. The lateral collateral ligament was not identified in any joint. MRI allows evaluation of the osseous and certain soft tissue structures of the TMJ in dogs.