Illustrated Medicine: Case Study

Complications from TMJ Trauma

This 15-year-old pedestrian was hit by a car on the left side. She flew onto the windshield, hit her head and landed on the pavement. 

Purpose of illustration 
This panel was intended to show findings noted by the dental expert associated with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) injury. 

Rationale for litigation visual 
TMJ pathology was the primary reason for the postural instability of her jaw and contributed to ongoing headaches. 

Left-sided TMJ complications 
She suffered pain with jaw opening and chewing, and had left-sided jaw pain at rest. Her jaw would lock closed, with instability of the joint. 

Other visuals demonstrated 
Additional illustrations showed issues of: mild TBI; R-sided hemianopia; sprain/strain injury to her neck and back; head/neck/back/shoulder pain; reduced range-of-motion of her C-spine; and vision problems. 

This visual was created to allow the dental expert to better explain an essential action of the mandible; it was to be used to educate litigation participants about key anatomical and functional issues of the jaw and TMJ; the case settled just prior to jury selection at the plaintiff’s pre-trial offer.