Oral Radiology

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 245–250 | Cite as

Differences in signal intensities of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) effusion on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) images

  • Mika Otonari-YamamotoEmail author
  • Kenichi Imoto
Original Article



Joint effusion is demonstrated by high signal intensity in the upper and lower temporomandibular joint (TMJ) spaces on T2-weighted images. The fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) technique can be applied to analyze joint effusion in the TMJ. FLAIR signal intensity can be more sensitively influenced by the contents of joint effusion than T2-weighted signal intensity. The purpose of this study was to analyze the signal intensity of joint effusion on FLAIR images and to investigate the changes in joint effusion contents according to the status of TMJ disorders.


A total of 48 joints (45 patients) with joint effusion were investigated by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Regions of interest were placed over the joint effusion and gray matter on FLAIR images. The joints were categorized as normal disk position (NL), disk displacement with reduction (DWR), disk displacement without reduction (DWOR), and osteoarthritis (OA). The signal intensity ratio of joint effusion was calculated using gray matter as the reference point. The Kruskal–Wallis test and Steel test were applied. A probability of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


The median signal intensity ratios of joint effusion differed significantly among the four joint categories (p = 0.02, Kruskal–Wallis test). The median signal intensity ratio of joint effusion in the OA category was significantly higher than that in the NL category (p = 0.04, Steel test).


The present findings suggest that FLAIR images can demonstrate the changes in joint effusion contents according to the status of TMJ disorders.


TMJ MRI FLAIR Joint effusion 



We would like to express our appreciation to Associate professor Mutsumi Takagiwa of the Laboratory of Mathematics of the Tokyo Dental College for advice regarding the statistical analysis of the data.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Mika Otonari-Yamamoto and Kenichi Imoto declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human rights

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1964 and later versions.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society for Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial RadiologyTokyo Dental CollegeTokyoJapan

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