Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Condylar volume and surface in Caucasian young adult subjects

Simona Tecco1*, Matteo Saccucci2, Riccardo Nucera3, Antonella Polimeni2, Mario Pagnoni2, Giancarlo Cordasco3, Felice Festa1 and Giorgio Iannetti2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oral Science, Nano and Biotechnology, University G.D'Annunzio, Via dei Vestini 31, Chieti, 66013, Italy

2 Department of Head and Neck Pathology, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy

3 Department of Oral Science, University of Messina, Italy

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BMC Medical Imaging 2010, 10:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2342-10-28

Published: 31 December 2010



There have been no quantitative standards for volumetric and surface measurements of the mandibular condyle in Caucasian population. However, the recently developed cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) system allows measurement of these parameters with high accuracy.


CBCT was used to measure the condylar volume, surface and the volume to surface ratio, called the Morphometric Index (MI), of 300 temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) in 150 Caucasian young adult subjects, with varied malocclusions, without pain or dysfunction of TMJs.


The condylar volume was 691.26 ± 54.52 mm3 in males and 669.65 ± 58.80 mm3 in, and was significantly higher (p< 0.001) in the males. The same was observed for the condylar surface, although without statistical significance (406.02 ± 55.22 mm2 in males and 394.77 ± 60.73 mm2 in females).

Furthermore, the condylar volume (693.61 ± 62.82 mm3 ) in the right TMJ was significantly higher than in the left (666.99 ± 48.67 mm3, p < 0.001) as was the condylar surface (411.24 ± 57.99 mm2 in the right TMJ and 389.41 ± 56.63 mm2 in the left TMJ; t = 3.29; p < 0.01). The MI is 1.72 ± 0.17 for the whole sample, with no significant difference between males and females or the right and left sides.


These data from temporomandibular joints of patients without pain or clinical dysfunction might serve as examples of normal TMJ's in the general population not seeking orthodontic care.