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Intra- and Extra-articular Features of Temporomandibular Joint Ankylosis in the Cat (Felis catus).


Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) ankylosis is an uncommon clinical entity in human and veterinary medicine. However, the condition is severely debilitating and is life-limiting if not treated. This study sought to characterize the intra- and extra-articular features of naturally occurring TMJ ankylosis in cats. TMJs from client-owned cats (n = 5) that underwent bilateral TMJ gap arthroplasty were examined and compared with TMJs from healthy, age-matched feline cadavers (n = 2) by cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), micro-computed tomography (μCT) and histologically. Features of bilateral intra- and extra-articular ankylosis compounded by degenerative joint lesions were identified radiographically and histologically in all affected cats. Features of TMJ 'true' ankylosis included variable intracapsular fibro-osseous bridging, degeneration of the disc and the articular surfaces, narrowing of the joint space and flattening of the condylar process of the mandible. Extra-articular features of TMJ ankylosis included periarticular bone formation and fibro-osseous bridging between the mandible, zygomatic arch and coronoid process. In addition, subchondral bone loss or sclerosis, irregular and altered joint contours and irregularly increased density of the medullary bone characterized the degenerative changes of the osseous components of the TMJ. Complex radiological and histological features of both ankylosis and pseudoankylosis were identified that clinically manifested in complete inability to open the mouth.

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