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Case report
Septic arthritis of the temporomandibular joint in an unvaccinated adolescent
  1. Alexander Sachs,
  2. Erik Ziegler and
  3. Raymond Patrick Shupak
  1. Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Raymond Patrick Shupak; rpshupak{at}


Septic arthritis of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a rare condition, particularly in the paediatric population. Our case involves a 15-year-old unvaccinated Amish man with acute pain and trismus of the TMJ. The diagnosis was reached after history, clinical examination, radiographic and laboratory examinations were performed. The patient improved after a minimally invasive surgical procedure and medical therapy. Failure to recognise and treat septic arthritis in a timely fashion can result in serious sequalae. Infectious aetiologies should be kept on the differential for any patient with acute TMJ pain.

  • ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • infectious diseases
  • head and neck surgery
  • oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • orthopaedics

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  • Contributors RPS, EZ and AS all contributed to the conception, review and manuscript preparation as well as literature review.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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