Objectives: To determine if there are differences between early versus late surgical arthoscopy in patients with temporomandibular (TMJ) dysfunction.
Patients/methods: One hundred eighty three patients underwent arthroscopy between 2009 and 2012. The patients were divided into early intervention group (EG) (less than 12 months presurgical symptoms) and late intervention group (LG) (more 12 months of symptoms) pain (visual analogue scale score) and maximal interincisal opening (MIO) were assessed preoperatively and at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after surgery.
Results: Seventy seven patients underwent arthroscopy early (42.07%) and one hundred six arthroscopy late (57.92%). In both groups, a significant decrease in pain ( P 0 < 0.05) was observed for all patients at any time during the follow-up period from the first month postoperatively to the end of the 1-year follow-up period. A highly significant increase in mouth opening greater was observed third month postoperatively. When we compared EG versus EL, no significant differences in terms of pain or MIO were observed during the entire follow-up period.
Conclusions: In our experience the early surgical intervention does not improve clinical outcomes neither in pain nor in functionality. The best clinical results outcomes were seen in patients wearing splints.