To determine whether curvature analysis on high resolution CT images can be used as a tool for evaluation of mandibular condyle morphology. Methods: Curvature analysis was performed on reconstructed oblique coronal CT images of 634 normal condyles from 317 patients (144 men and 173 women; age range 4-89 years) with inner or middle ear disease. The condyles were scanned with 1 mm collimation using helical CT. The CT images were analysed manually on a personal computer. Results: The condyle CT images could be categorized into five curvature profile patterns: (1) bipeak; (2) no peak; (3) tri-peak; (4) bi-peak with an intervening bottom above the base line (bi-peak with a col); and (5) bi-peak with an intervening negative phase. A separate evaluation using computer graphic condyle models indicated that these curvature patterns corresponded to flat (bipeak), round (no peak), convex (bi-peak with a col), concave (bi-peak with a negative phase) and angled (tri-peak) contours of the condyle's superior surface. The curvature profiles were identical between bilateral condyles in 40% (126/317) of the patients. Gender-related differences in the incidence of the curvature profiles were also found, the bi-peak with a col profile being more frequently observed in women and the bi-peak with a negative phase profile being observed more frequently in men. Conclusion: Curvature analysis on CT images depicts condyle morphology effectively and may be an adjunctive tool for condyle morphometry. Dentomaxillofacial Radiology (2003) 32, 87-92.
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