Radiological study of three cases of loose bodies in the temporomandibular joint


  • Allan Abuabara Health Division of the City of Joinville
  • Dale A. Miles
  • Giuseppe V. Cruz Joinville University
  • Luis A. Passeri State University of Campinas



Synovial chondromatosis, Temporomandibular joint, Temporomandibular joint disorders


According to the literature, loose bodies in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) primarily prompt to synovial chondromatosis (SC). SC is a cartilaginous metaplasia of the mesenchymal remnants of the synovial tissue of the joints. Its main characteristic is the formation of cartilaginous nodules in the synovium and inside the articular space, described as loose bodies. The main symptoms are pain, limitation of jaw movement, crepitation and inflammation. Diagnosis is made by panoramic radiograph, computed tomography scan and mainly magnetic resonance imaging. SC is usually monoarticular. We report two cases of bilateral loose bodies in TMJ and one monoarticular evaluated through plain radiograph and cone beam volumetric tomography (CBVT). Clinical and radiologic findings are reviewed and discussed. References for diagnosis of SC affecting TMJ are supported. Patients presenting preauricular swelling, pain and restriction of TMJ movements should be evaluated with plain radiography, CBVT and if necessary, magnetic resonance imaging. If loose bodies are found, synovial chondromatosis must be the first suspicion. The definitive diagnosis depends on histology. A differential diagnosis of chondrosarcoma should be considered because of the life-threatening features of chondrosarcoma.


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Author Biographies

Allan Abuabara, Health Division of the City of Joinville

Specialist in Dental & Maxillofacial Radiology, Health Division of the City of Joinville

Dale A. Miles

DDS, MS, FRCD(C), University of Texas, San Antonio; Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Texas, USA

Giuseppe V. Cruz, Joinville University

DDS, MS, Professor of Dental & Maxillofacial Radiology, Joinville University

Luis A. Passeri, State University of Campinas

DDS, MSc, PhD, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, School of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas




How to Cite

Abuabara A, Miles DA, Cruz GV, Passeri LA. Radiological study of three cases of loose bodies in the temporomandibular joint. Braz. J. Oral Sci. [Internet]. 2015 Nov. 25 [cited 2022 Dec. 1];9(2):133-6. Available from:



Case Report