Real-Time Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Temporomandibular Joint Dynamics

Shuo Zhang*, 1, Nikolaus Gersdorff2, Jens Frahm1
1 Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH am Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, Am Fassberg 11, 37070 Göttingen, Germany
2 Department of Prosthodontics, Georg-August-University Göttingen, 37075 Göttingen, Germany

© 2011 Zhang et al.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH am Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, 37070 Göttingen, Germany; Tel: +49-551-201-1735; E-mail:


This study evaluated the use of a novel real-time MRI technique based on fast low angle shot (FLASH) MRI with radial encoding, gridding reconstruction, and sliding window for the assessment of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dynamics in a cohort of 30 young volunteers without prior diagnosis of TMJ pathology. High-resolution images (0.75 mm2 0.75 mm2, 5 mm section thickness) were obtained at 3 frames per second for active jaw movements without adjunctive devices. Real-time movies were evaluated with respect to image artefacts, anatomical visibility, diagnostic confidence, and TMJ function. During the entire opening and closing of the mouth, the relative positions of the mandibular condyle and articular disc were well depicted. Mean scores were 1.01 ± 0.65 for motion artefacts (scale: 0 = no to 3 = severe artefacts) and 2.03 ± 0.71 for anatomical detectability (scale: 1 = excellent to 5 = not visible). High inter-observer agreements were found for assessments of mandibular condyle movements (κ = 0.83) and articular disc displacements (κ = 0.91). In latter cases, the point of disc reduction could precisely be identified. In conclusion, the proposed real-time MRI method offers robust access to TMJ dynamics with good image quality.

Keywords: Temporomandibular joint, magnetic resonance, MRI, dynamic MRI, joint.