Treatment of temporomandibular joint ankylosis with gap arthroplasty and temporal muscle/fascia graft: a case report with five-year follow-up

  • Marcelo Carlos Bortoluzzi
  • Miguel Angelo R. Sheffer
Keywords: ATM, anquilose, cirurgia buco-maxilo-facial, articulação temporomandibular


Purpose: Temporomandibular joint ankylosis (TMA) is a highly distressing condition in which the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is replaced by scar tissue. The most commonly surgical approach used to restore normal joint functioning is a gap arthroplasty associated with the temporal muscle flap (TMF) as interpositional material. This paper aimed to present a modification of the conventional vascularized temporal muscle flap, and describe an alternative procedure using a muscle/fascia temporal graft as interpositional tissue for the gap arthroplasty. Case description: We report a case of TMA treated using a gap arthroplasty and a variation of the TMF technique as interpositional material, performing a temporal muscle/fascia graft. The technique described is associated with adequate bone removal and excellent intraoperative joint mobilization. Physiotherapy was started 2 days after surgery and maintained for 4 months. During the five years of follow-up, no signs of ankylosis recurrence were observed; maximum mouth opening is currently 35 millimeters. Conclusion: The success in preventing reankylosis after TMJ gap arthroplasty is related primarily to the early postoperative physiotherapy, maintained long-term. A free graft harvested from temporal muscle and used as interpositional material is easy to obtain, reliable, and effective. Another advantage is minimal damage to the temporal muscle and low morbidity.
Case Report