Is infrared thermography effective in the diagnosis of temporomandibular disorders? A systematic review

Published:October 25, 2018DOI:


      The aim of this study was to systematically review the scientific efficacy of infrared thermography (IT) on the diagnosis of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs).

      Study Design

      An electronic search was performed in 8 databases for publications up to May 2018. Additionally, a hand search of the reference lists was conducted. There were no restrictions on language or on year of publication. Two independent reviewers selected the studies, reviewed the abstract information, and assessed the quality. The methodology of the included articles was evaluated by using the QUADAS-2 tool.


      Nine studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria and were included in the systematic review. Four studies concluded that IT presents low accuracy or is not an accurate instrument for TMD diagnosis, but there was substantial variation in sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating characteristic curve values. Five studies concluded that IT appears to be promising or may be a complementary diagnostic aid in the evaluation of TMDs. These studies presented sensitivity values ranging from 70% to 90% and specificity values ranging from 62% to 92%. All studies were judged as being “at risk of bias” and as having “concerns regarding applicability.”


      The literature is still lacking in sufficient number of studies regarding the reliability of IT for the diagnosis of TMDs.
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