In an era during which minimally invasive procedures are increasingly becoming the norm, arthroscopy of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) seems to be infrequently used for diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the TMJ. The reasons for this are not clear. The purpose of this study was to find out the current state of arthroscopy of the TMJ in the UK and, more specifically, how often it is used, the indications for its use, the level of experience of practising surgeons, and the reasons for not using it. Information was gathered between 2009 and 2010 from a postal and e-mail questionnaire to all oral and maxillofacial consultants in the UK. Of the 346 consultants, 215 (60%) responded to the questionnaire. Forty-two said that they currently used arthroscopy of the TMJ, and 33 of those (81%) have more than 5 years’ experience. During the past year, a total of 8 consultants nationally have done 20 arthroscopies or more. Thirty-three of the procedures (81%) were done for both diagnosis and treatment. Lack of perceived need of patients and lack of interest in this specialty were the main reasons given for not doing arthroscopy, lack of training being a key secondary reason. The Storz and Olympus systems were the most commonly used within the UK. Results seem to support the opinion that arthroscopy of the TMJ is under-used, and consideration should be given to ensuring that trainees are instructed in its use, which is important in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the TMJ.
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Published online: December 29, 2011
Accepted: November 30, 2011
© 2011 The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.