Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/16785
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Type: Journal article
Title: Discal attachments of the human temporomandibular joint
Author: Christo, J.
Bennett, S.
Wilkinson, T.
Townsend, G.
Citation: Australian Dental Journal, 2005; 50(3):152-160
Publisher: Australian Dental Assn Inc
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 0045-0421
1834-7819
Statement of
Responsibility: 
JE Christo, S Bennett, TM Wilkinson and GC Townsend
Abstract: Background: Despite its clinical significance, the anatomy of the human temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and its relationship to the lateral pterygoid muscle remains poorly described and often misrepresented in standard texts. The aim of this study was to describe how the anterior and posterior attachments of the TMJ disc vary between lateral, central and medial regions of the joint. Methods: Ten left TMJs were removed en bloc from cadavers and serial sections were made at 3-4mm intervals. Observations were made to ascertain the anterior and posterior attachments of the disc and the joint structures were traced from standardized photographs. Results: Laterally, the capsule and lateral discal ligament merged prior to their attachment at the condylar pole. Medially, muscle fibres, capsule and the disc converged on the medial pole of the condyle. There was no evidence that fibres of the upper head of the lateral pterygoid muscle inserted directly into the disc. The upper head inserted into the condyle either directly at the pterygoid fovea or via a central tendon or indirectly via the capsule. Posteriorly, the superior part of the posterior attachment of the disc attached to the cartilaginous meatus and tympanic part of the temporal bone. The inferior part of the posterior attachment of the disc attached to the posterior surface of the condyle. In four joints, this attachment was folded beneath the posterior band of the disc, creating a wedge-shaped flap that ran medio-laterally. Conclusion: This study is in broad agreement with other anatomical TMJ studies but there are two main points of difference. Firstly, a true muscle insertion of the superior head of the lateral pterygoid muscle to the disc was not observed. Secondly, a wedge-shaped flap of retrodiscal tissue was identified between the condyle and the disc.
Keywords: Temporomandibular joint
discal attachments
lateral pterygoid muscle
Description: The document attached has been archived with permission from the Australian Dental Association (8th Jan 2007). An external link to the publisher’s copy is included.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2005.tb00354.x
Published version: http://www.ada.org.au/App_CmsLib/Media/Lib/0610/M28340_v1_632972870742316250.pdf
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Dentistry publications

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