Irrigation and innervation of the temporomandibular joint. A literature review

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Ramón Fuentes; Nicolás Ernesto Ottone; Diego Saravia & Cristina Bucchi


The knowledge of the afferent nerves, vascular supply and venous drainage of the temporomandibular joint is relevant to understand the physiology of the stomatognathic system. The aim of this study was to identify the blood vessels and nerves involved in the blood supply and innervation of the TMJ, and if the terms used in the scientific literature respects the Terminologia Anatomica. Ten books and 11 scientific articles were included. A literature review was conducted. Most authors suggest that TMJ irrigation is carried out by branches of the superficial temporal artery and branches of the maxillary artery, which are branches of the external carotid artery. The venous drainage would be given by the superficial temporal vein and by the pterygoid plexus. The sensory innervation was given by the mandibular nerve, branch of the V cranial nerve and its branches auriculotemporal, masseteric and the deep temporal nerves. The authors agree on the major vessels and nerve branches that provide irrigation and innervation to the TMJ, although other less described vessels and nerves are also mentioned. The venous drainage of the TMJ is poorly described in the literature.

KEY WORDS: Temporomandibular joint; Irrigation; Innervation; Venous drainage.

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FUENTES, R.; OTTONE, N. E.; SARAVIA, D. & BUCCHI, C. Irrigation and innervation of the temporomandibular joint. A literature review. Int. J. Morphol., 34(3):1024-1033, 2016.