Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term objective and subjective outcomes of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) implant surgery for the treatment of painful TMJ disc displacement using temporary Silastic (Dow Corning Corporation, Midland, MI), permanent Silastic, or Proplast (Vitek, Houston, TX) implants to replace the disc. These cases were compared with other cases of the same diagnosis treated with either nonsurgical rehabilitation or nonimplant surgery involving discectomy or disc repair procedures. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 466 patients who received treatment for unilateral or bilateral TMJ disc displacement before January 1, 1990. The 5 treatment groups noted above were compared for long-term outcomes. Objective outcome measurements for jaw function were performed using a calibrated examiner and the Craniomandibular Index (CMI). Subjective (self-reported) outcomes were obtained relative to jaw function (Mandibular Function Impairment Questionnaire [MFIQ]), symptom severity (Symptom Severity Index [SSI]), and the impact of pain (Global Pain Impact [GPI] scale). Results: The results, adjusted for gender, baseline tomogram score, and baseline symptom scores, showed that the nonsurgical rehabilitation group (n = 159) and the group having TMJ surgery without implants (n = 149) had statistically better results than the group who underwent surgery with a Proplast implant (n = 94). These between-group differences included both objective signs (CMI), and subjective reports of jaw function (MFIQ), symptom severity (SSI), and global pain impact (GPI). The MFIQ score associated with the nonsurgical rehabilitation group was also statistically better than for the Silastic implant groups, including both the temporary (n = 31) and permanent (n = 33) implants. Clinical differences between groups were slight. Conclusion: This study suggests that the use of interpositional disc implants in TMJ surgery is not associated with improved outcomes when compared with nonimplant surgery or nonsurgical rehabilitation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Dow Corning Corporation.