Neurovascular structures of the mandibular angle and condyle: a comprehensive anatomical review
PURPOSE The aim of this study was to analyze three-dimensional images of the arterial supply to the temporomandibular joint. MATERIALS AND METHODS Ten patients (five men and five women, mean age 36 years) without signs or symptoms of temporomandibular disorders, who underwent contrast-enhanced computed tomographic (CT) scanning with intravenous contrast, were studied. The direct volume rendering technique of CT images was used, and a data set of images to visualize the vasculature of the human temporomandibular joint in three dimensions was created. After elaboration of the data through post-processing, the arterial supply of the temporomandibular joint was studied. RESULTS The analysis revealed the superficial temporal artery, the anterior tympanic artery, the deep temporal artery, the auricular posterior artery, the transverse facial artery, the middle meningeal artery, and the maxillary artery with their branches as the main arterial sources for the lateral and medial temporomandibular joint. CONCLUSION The direct volume rendering technique was found to be successful in the assessment of the arterial supply to the temporomandibular joint. The superficial temporal artery and maxillary artery ran along the lateral and medial sides of the condylar neck, suggesting that these arteries are at increased risk during soft-tissue procedures such as an elective arthroplasty of the temporomandibular joint.