Promising Advancements in TMJ Disc Regeneration?

From the latest Issue of the e-zine from TMJ Association My one place for support with those who have been through the turmoil of the Vitek Implant aftermath. This news below is really valuable. The progression that is slowly being made is an attempt to find resolutions for patients whose disc’s have degenerated like mine had. Then the sound medical advice was implants. We learned for me just 4 years later hat the reaction and symptoms I was having post op were in fact not my fault. (an absurd accusation made to almost every implant victim)

My assumptions that the Giant Cell Response from the toxins my body is not able to absorb or turn into waste is what was the igniting trigger to my health  issues today. I have great interest in information about research such as this.

April, 2012

Volume 4, Issue 4

Alejandro Almarza, PhD

In This Issue

TMJ Disc Regeneration Study

Estrogen in TMD Pain

Dr. Ronald Dubner

IPRCC Meeting

Lyme Disease & TMJ Symptoms

Tips to Prevent Medical Errors

NIH Clinical Trials

TMJ Disc Regeneration Study

Our thanks to Dr. Alejandro J. Almarza, Assistant Professor of Oral Biology and Bioengineering at the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh for writing a summary of his team’s research for our readers

Inductive, Scaffold-Based, Regenerative Medicine Approach to Reconstruction of the Temporomandibular Joint Disk The TMJ disc is composed of soft cartilaginous material that acts as a shock absorber between the temporal bone of the skull and the lower jaw bone (the mandible) when the joint moves. Attempts to replace a diseased or degenerated disc by synthetic materials or tissues from other parts of a patient’s body have been unsuccessful or of only limited duration. However, Dr. Almarza and his collaborators report encouraging results for the regeneration of the TMJ disc in an animal experiment.

The team used extracellular matrix (ECM) material derived from pig bladders, which was shaped to model the TMJ disc and placed it into one of the sides of the jaw of dogs who had had both TMJ discs surgically removed, leaving the other side of the jaw empty as a control. (“Extracellular matrix” consists of materials and molecules in the ground substance surrounding various cells and organs in the body.) The ECM implant consisted of a powdered form of ECM sandwiched between layers of the same material. The authors noted that the same source material had been used successfully in a number of other areas of the body to promote healing and regeneration.

For six months, the joints were allowed to heal and regenerate. During that time the animals showed no sign of discomfort or major complications. After six months, the joints were evaluated for changes and newly formed tissue was examined. The new tissue was found to have many similarities to the normal TMJ disc in composition, structure and strength. The new tissue also protected the jaw surfaces from degeneration, compared to the empty control joints.

These results suggest that in the future biologic ECM tissue may be able to serve as a template for the formation of new, site-appropriate, functional TMJ disc tissue. While the results are encouraging, other test and experiments are ongoing to show the safety and effectiveness of the ECM device as a TMJ disc replacement.


TMJ Association.


And the abstract:

   I Oral MaxilIlofac Surg. 2012 Feb 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Inductive, Scaffold-Based, Regenerative Medicine Approach to Reconstruction of the Temporomandibular Joint Disk.


Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.



A device composed of extracellular matrix (ECM) was investigated as an inductive template in vivo for reconstruction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disk after discectomy.


A scaffold material composed of porcine-derived ECM was configured to mimic the shape and size of the TMJ. This device was implanted in a canine model of bilateral TMJ discectomy. After discectomy, 1 side was repaired with an ECM scaffold material and the contralateral side was left empty as a control. At 6 months after implantation, the joint space was opened, the joints were evaluated for signs of gross pathologic degenerative changes, and newly formed tissue was excised for histologic, biochemical, and biomechanical analysis.


The results showed that implantation of an initially acellular material supported the formation of site-appropriate, functional host tissue that resembled that of the native TMJ disk. Furthermore, this prevented gross degenerative changes in the temporal fossa and mandibular condyle. No tissue formation and mild to severe gross pathologic changes were observed in the contralateral controls.


These results suggest that an ECM-based bioscaffold could represent an off-the-shelf solution for TMJ disk replacement.

Copyright © 2012 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed – as supplied by publisher


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