Temporo-Mandibular Joint Osteoarthritis


The temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge mechanism of the lower jaw. As such it is crucial for the lower jaw or mandible to function correctly. It is not uncommon for patients to develop breakdown of the jaw joint resulting in pain, stiffness, headache and restricted movement. There are different aetiologies of arthritis in the human body but the TMJ suffers mostly from osteoarthritis. The mechanism of action may be aggravated by an abnormal bite or parafunctional habits such as clenching or grinding of the teeth.

Most patients consult their dentist and are prescribed most effectively a dental splint to wear and for the majority of patients this is successful in minimising damage to the jaw joint. In a minor number of cases the inflammation in the TMJ causes the cartilage to become locked and then resulting in breakdown of the articular surface of the mandibular condyle or hinge. The diagnosis is confirmed clinically and with MRI where the radiologist notes cartilaginous disc displacement and erosion or breakdown. This is then a sign of degeneration which will cause pain and suffering associated with restricted movement. 

Stem Cells used for injection within the Temporo-Mandibular joint:

Classically surgeons in the past have undertaken arthroscopy and arthrocentesis of the jaw joint with good results. However once the procedure is done it is recognised that the mandibular condyle breakdown cannot be adequately reversed. The patient may present 6-12 months later with the same problem. In older patients even injecting potent steroids in the jaw joint only temporises the problem and in younger patients it is unusual to use steroids for fear of encouraging even more jaw joint breakdown. Mesenchymal adipose stem cells harvested from the patient are the best alternatives to the use of steroids and to avoid the possibility of a prosthetic jaw joint. Our surgeons from eurostemcell.life harvest the autologous fat and expand and process the stem cells. These are then injected into the upper joint space of the temporo-mandibular joint. The surgeons are cranio-maxillo-facial trained and to them this is a routine procedure. There is no pain and nil bleeding. The carotid artery and internal jugular vein are avoided by careful knowledge of the anatomy. The procedure may be done under local or general anaesthesia.


Eurostemcell.life and its surgeons are specialists in disorders of the head and neck. We are dually trained in medicine and dentistry and stem cell experts. Use of stem cells in TMJ osteoarthritis is designed as a rescue from total degeneration requiring an artificial jaw joint. There is however no guarantee that stem cells can restore TMJ function and anatomy.

At Eurostemcell.life we pride ourselves on ensuring patients know the team diagnosing and conducting their stem cell therapy. Professor Russell Vickers is the lead specialist, working within a team of specialist surgeons and doctors.

Important questions that patients should ask of any treating clinicians and facility:

  • Are my treating doctors specialist surgeons/doctors and stem cell experts?
  • How many publications and research based studies have they published in peer reviewed journals?
  • Can they augment stem cell therapy with the known benefits of adjunctive therapy?

Eurostemcell.life is Europes premier stem cell organisation guided by evidence based medicine and clinical research.

Our founding director, Professor Russell Vickers PhD, MDsc, M Med, MA, FFPM (ANZCA) is an Australian and New Zealand board registered surgeon with over 100 publications, books and thousands of invited lectures and presentations on stem cells, pain, peptide synthesis and biochemistry. Professor Vickers is the leader of a family team of surgeons assisting him including Dr Peter Vickers, MD, FRCS (Edinburgh), FRACDS, Dr Richard Vickers, MD, FRCS (England, Glasgow, Ireland), FRACDS (OMS) and Dr Jessica Vickers, MD, MCOM, BA/BN as co-ordinator.

This medical summary has been written by Professor Vickers and his family team of specialist consultants.

It has been written by medically qualified writers.

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