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MRI of Temporomandibular joint effusion

A temporomandibular joint (TMJ) effusion is unusual in asymptomatic patients, and thus should trigger a careful search for underlying pathology. It usually precedes osteoarthritis of the TMJ. Effusions are seen in:

  • TMJ dysfunction
  • septic arthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis

“Small TMJ joint effusion.”

“Mild TMJ effusion”
“large TMJ effusion. ”

Radiographic features

On PD / T2 weighted sequences, both synovial proliferation and effusions can be high on signal. If necessary they two can be distinguished by administering gadolinium.