CBCT Biomarkers That Can Accurately Assess Mandibular Condyle Trabecular Structure
Objectives: Osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a prevalent and debilitating disease that is characterized by chronic degradation of articular cartilage, bone and surrounding structures of the joint which can lead to pain and loss of function. Since TMJ osteoarthritis (TMJ OA) typically develops over years, the slow progression offers a long window of opportunity to potentially alter its course. Advances in radiographic imaging may allow for early characterization of TMJ OA, which could have future implications for development of effective early treatment strategies. The objective of this study was to determine if the cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) machines used in current dental applications are capable of accurately assessing condylar bone trabecular morphology and quantifying trabecular defects.
Methods: Sixteen resected condyles of individuals undergoing TMJ replacement were collected and used as a sample. These condyles were then radiographically imaged using a clinically oriented dental CBCT and a research oriented micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). The CBCT scans were then compared to the gold standard micro-CT scans in terms of 21 bone imaging parameters. Descriptive histological investigation of the specimens was also performed.
Results: Significant Pearson correlations were found for several imaging parameters between the CBCT and micro-CT images including trabecular thickness (r=0.92), trabecular separation (r=0.78), bone volume (r=0.90), bone surface area (r=0.79), and degree of anisotropy measurements (r=0.77).
Conclusions: Measurements of trabecular thickness, trabecular separation, bone volume, bone surface area, and degree of anisotropy obtained from high resolution dental CBCT radiographs may make for suitable bone imaging biomarkers which than can be utilized clinically and in future research.