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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502


POMPEI FILHO, Horácio; GUIMARAES, Antonio Sergio  and  SUAZO GALDAMES, Iván Claudio. Prevalence of the Third Head of the Lateral Pterygoid Muscle: A Magnetic Resonance Image Study. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2009, vol.27, n.4, pp.1043-1046. ISSN 0717-9502.

The lateral pterygoid muscle (LPM) is important in the physiology and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which has described the presence of a third head in the lateral pterygoid muscle (THLPM). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of THLPM and its relationship with the TMJ disc through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It was evaluated 178 MRI of the TMJ of healthy individuals, in images that presented THLPM, and these were defined and measured at the surface inserted into the disc. The prevalence of THLPM was 20.22% (n = 36). Insertion of THLPM was made entirely on the TMJ disc, the average area of insertion was 4.14mm (SD 1.35) in women and 4.67 (SD 2.68) in men, but these differences were not significant. We concluded that the LPM has a complex structure, and that a THLPM could contribute in the development of TMJ disc function alterations and anterior disc displacement.

Keywords : Lateral pterygoid muscle; Temporomandibular joint; Articular disc; Temporomandibular dysfunction.

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