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Volume 15 , Issue 4
Fall 2001

Pages 306-319

Histologic Changes Associated with Experimental Partial Anterior Disc Displacement in the Rabbit Temporomandibular Joint

Marie-Violaine Berteretche, DDS, Jean-Michel Foucart, DDS, Alain Meunier, MS, Pierre Carpentier, DDS,

PMID: 12400399

Aims: To correlate histologic changes with the stress developed by various disc interferences via a model of partial anterior disc displacement in the rabbit temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Methods: Eighteen male New Zealand rabbits were operated on to expose the temporomandibular disc without severing its attachments. A suture was passed around the lateral part of the disc over the condylar attachments and the 2 strands were fixed in the orbital cavity. In 9 rabbits, a resorbable suture was used to secure the disc displacement. In the other 9, a nonresorbable suture was fixed with a nickel-titanium spring to displace and maintain tension on the disc. Three non-operated animals served as controls. The animals were sacrificed at 12 and 24 weeks after surgery, and the TMJs were prepared for undecalcified histology. Results: In the first group, the disc remained in a normal position, but its morphology was modified and small histologic changes were observed in the cartilage. In the second group, the disc was displaced in various positions corresponding to the strength delivered by the spring. Conclusion: Adaptive changes were observed in joints with a slightly displaced disc, while degenerative changes were associated with larger disc displacements. In each experimental joint, histologic changes increased from the medial to lateral parts. This phenomenon was related to the stress gradient induced by axial disc rotation over the condyle. Any disc displacement always resulted in changes in the cartilage.

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