Scanning Microscopy


Twelve articular disks from patients with temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) arthropathy were studied and compared with two normal disks. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) examination of the surfaces and of longitudinal and cross-sections of the disks allowed the observation of the arrangement of the collagen fiber component in different parts of the disk. The superficial part of the articular disks appears to be formed by rather compact fibers. The internal portion is usually formed by bundles of collagen fibers in sheets, alternating with isolated fibers arranged in a parallel or irregular way.

In some samples, blood vessels were observed. Our investigations suggested that the appearance of vascularization is the first remarkable histological change that can be observed in functionally abnormal articular disks.

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