Biomechanical evaluation of the human mandible after temporomandibular joint replacement under different biting conditions

Manuel Pinheiro*, Robin Willaert, Afaq Khan, Anouar Krairi, Wim Van Paepegem

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)
    101 Downloads (Pure)


    Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) replacement with an implant is only used when all other conservative treatments fail. Despite the promising short-term results, the long-term implications of TMJ replacement in masticatory function are not fully understood. Previous human and animal studies have shown that perturbations to the normal masticatory function can lead to morphological and functional changes in the craniomaxillofacial system. A clearer understanding of the biomechanical implications of TMJ replacement in masticatory function may help identify design shortcomings that hinder their long-term success. In this study, patient-specific finite element models of the intact and implanted mandible were developed and simulated under four different biting tasks. In addition, the impact of re-attaching of the lateral pterygoid was also evaluated. The biomechanics of both models was compared regarding both mandibular displacements and principal strain patterns. The results show an excessive mediolateral and anteroposterior displacement of the TMJ implant compared to the intact joint in three biting tasks, namely incisor (INC), left moral (LML), and right molar (RML) biting. The main differences in principal strain distributions were found across the entire mandible, most notably from the symphysis to the ramus of the implanted side. Furthermore, the re-attachment of the lateral pterygoid seems to increase joint anteroposterior displacement in both INC, LML and RML biting while reducing it during LGF. Accordingly, any new TMJ implant design must consider stabilising both mediolateral and anteroposterior movement of the condyle during biting activities and promoting a more natural load transmission along the entire mandible.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number14034
    Number of pages12
    JournalScientific Reports
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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