Synovial chondromatosis (SC) of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is an uncommon benign entity characterized by the formation of calcified loose bodies within the joint. The standard treatment is arthrotomy of the affected joint and removal of the loose bodies. The aim of this study was to present the results of a large series of cases who were treated with arthroscopy. Retrospectively, 33 consecutive patients treated between April 2001 and April 2010 have been analyzed. The predominant symptoms were pain, limitation of mouth opening, and joint sounds. Obvious joint effusion was shown on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 21 of 33 patients. The mass lesions were demonstrated on MRI in 29 of 33 cases. The presence of loose bodies was shown under arthroscope for all cases. Their diameter was from 0.5 mm to 15 mm. Synovial hyperplasia was noted in 12 of 33 patients. Bony erosion of either the glenoid fossa or eminence was discovered in 11 of 33 patients. Anterior disc displacement was seen in 15 patients. The loose bodies smaller than 3 mm were commonly removed with joint lavage or biopsy forceps in 26 patients. Fragmentation with forceps or an additional incision was applied to remove larger loose bodies for the other seven patients. No mass lesions were showed on postoperative MRI. The average follow-up period was 38 months. No recurrence was suspected clinically and radiologically. Arthroscopy is proved to be a useful method for management of SC of the TMJ which is confined to the superior joint space.
Conflict of interest: None declared.