Use of “Bicondylar” as a Descriptive Term for the Temporomandibular Joint: A Scoping Review

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Paulina Gutiérrez-Tiznado; Sandra López-Lázaro & Gabriel M. Fonseca


The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint between the mandibular condyles, the mandibular fossa and the articular tubercle of the temporal bone. TMJ has been described as a “bicondylar” joint, a term that in current literature is used in multiple and dissimilar contexts. We present a scoping review of the term “bicondylar” as a descriptive term for TMJ in the scientific literature of the last 5 years. After selection according to the inclusion/exclusion criteria, 24 articles were selected for further analysis. The countries with the most publications were Brazil, India and Turkey with 3 articles each. Seven articles (29.17 %) were published by Spanish- speaking authors, six of these written in Spanish. Regarding the use of the term "bicondylar", 50 % of the articles referred to this term but did not explain it; 25 % cited this term to refer to the location in the left and right mandibular condyles; and 25 % the articles use the term and explain it according to the morphology of the articular surfaces. Discrepancies were also detected regarding as to how to consider TMJ: 54.17 % considered that TMJ is a single joint between a single bone (the jaw) and two bones of the cranium, while 45.83 % considered that TMJ are actually two different TMJs that work at the same time. We suggest discussing the appropriate use of the term "bicondylar" to avoid confusion and to be able to adapt and satisfy the needs of both anatomists and clinicians.

KEY WORDS: Anatomy; Temporomandibular joint; Bicondylar; Terminology.

How to cite this article

GUTIÉRREZ-TIZNADO, P.; LÓPEZ-LÁZARO, S. & FONSECA, G. M. Use of “bicondylar” as a descriptive term for the temporomandibular joint: A scoping review. Int. J. Morphol., 40(4):1054-1059, 2022.