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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30-34  

Evaluation and correlation of condylar cortication by cone-beam computed tomography: A retrospective study

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, SRM Dental College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission02-Jun-2020
Date of Decision21-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance10-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication23-Mar-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. K S Sethna Muthlakshmi
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, SRM Dental College, Ramapuram, Chennai - 600 089, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ccd.ccd_341_20

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Background: Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a ginglymo-diarthroidial joint with fibroelastic cartilage. The chondrogenesis initiates from the 12th week of intrauterine life and the development of condyle is associated with growth. The condylar cortication shows distinct morphological variation for each individual in each stage of their life. The cortical bone around the condyle could be used as a factor for chronological age assessment and it can act as a tool in forensic medicine. Aim and Objective: The study was carried out to evaluate the cortical grading in mandibular condyle using two different applications and to correlate their grades with chronological age. Setting and Design: Hospital-based retrospective observational cross-sectional study. Materials and Methods: The study was carried out in 40 patients and 80 TMJs were assessed for cortication grades in Carestream 3D imaging and Image J applications. These grading from both the applications were correlated with the chronological age. Statistical Analysis: SPSS (Statistical Analysis for the Social Science) – Cohen's Kappa inter-examiner reliability and Spearman's correlation coefficient were used. Results: The radiological assessment of condylar cortication in individual application showed significant results and the relationship of cortication with chronological age showed a significant correlation. Conclusion: The condylar cortication grading is a simple technique and can be used as a factor for chronological age assessment. This is an initial study which used two different applications to view the cortication of the mandibular condyle and to correlate the cortication with chronological age. Hence, a large sample size-based study is required for further research.

Keywords: Age estimation, condyle cortication, cone-beam computed tomography, mandibular condyle

How to cite this article:
Sethna Muthlakshmi K S, Krithika C L, Asokan K. Evaluation and correlation of condylar cortication by cone-beam computed tomography: A retrospective study. Contemp Clin Dent 2022;13:30-4

How to cite this URL:
Sethna Muthlakshmi K S, Krithika C L, Asokan K. Evaluation and correlation of condylar cortication by cone-beam computed tomography: A retrospective study. Contemp Clin Dent [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 2];13:30-4. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Mandibular morphology is associated with the development of age and is sensitive to adolescent growth spurt.[1] Condyle is a part of the mandible which is considered as the integral component of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Mandibular condyle can differentiate the gender based by its morphological appearance and duration in growth/development.[1] Condylar formations begin in the 9th week of intra-uterine life (IU) and by the 12th week of IU, there is endochondral ossification, which leads to secondary cartilage formation, which results in the elongation of condyle and increase in the height of mandibular ramus.[1],[2] As the condyle initiates to mature, there is the continuous formation of the subchondral bony layer and the endochondral ossification ends at this stage.[1] The cortical bone is a homogenous bony and continuous layer seen at the periphery of the mandibular condyle.[3] This homogenous bony layer starts to appear from the age of 12–14 years and completes its formation by 22 years of age.[3] The cortication initiation is early in females than in males.[3] The cortical bone can be detected in radiographs and it could be used for the assessment of developmental changes in condyle. We have used cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) imaging to investigate the cortical bone in subjects from 12 to 16 years old. Age-related differences in the formation of cortical bone were also assessed using two software platforms. Our study aims to evaluate the cortical level in mandibular condyle from the database using one viewing software and one analyzing software platform. These assessments were correlated with chronological age.

   Materials and Methods Top

The study was carried out in the department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, SRM Dental College, Chennai. The study was approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee Review Board (SRMU/MandHS/SRMDC/2019/PG/014). This study was conducted over a period of 2 months from December 2019 to January 2020. It was a cross-sectional observational retrospective study conducted with a sample size of 40 individuals and 80 TMJs. The CBCT scans of mandibular condyle were selected from the database of the radiology center in the Oral Medicine department. Images with appropriate sharpness and contrast to visualize both the condyle was included. Any congenital or developmental craniofacial and skeletal deformities, bone mineral metabolism disorder, arthritic changes, trauma or any pathologic conditions that affect the mandibular condyle was excluded from the study.


Forty patients CBCT images with eighty TMJs were acquired. Bilateral TMJ in CBCT was obtained using a Carestream 9300 CBCT machine at 120 kVp, 5 mA and with 17 cm × 13 cm as the field of vision. The image was obtained from the patients in a standing position and the Frankfort horizontal plane was parallel to the floor. The images of the condyles were recorded and saved at the sagittal section, 0.3 mm3 voxel size and zoom at 0.44 [Figure 1]. These images were then independently evaluated by three expert oral radiologists who were blinded about the subject's age and sex. The condyle was viewed in the sagittal section in 300-μm slice thickness at zoom 0.44. The spatial resolution of the region of interest was maintained that the condylar cortication was seen with its boundaries from the carestream application. These images [Figure 1]a, [Figure 1]b, [Figure 1]c, [Figure 1]d, [Figure 1]e, [Figure 1]f were saved for the evaluation of cortication grading by the examiners using carestream application. In Image J application (1.46r National Institute of Health, USA – Java 1.6.0_20 (32-bit)), the saved images were changed into a standardized 108 × 147 size. The standardized image was transformed into 8-bit grayscale image. Digital images are grids of the pixel which hold the intensities in the numerical range between black and white. Bit image defines the number of intensity values in an image. This image was processed into a binary image, where the image was converted into a black and white image. This binary image was further processed into skeletonized image. The skeletonized image is in a topological skeleton form, where the shape reveals its connectivity, length, width, and shape boundary [Figure 2]a, [Figure 2]b, [Figure 2]c. The obtained skeletonized image can be used for reconstruction of the original image. These skeletonized images were saved, and the examiners graded the skeletonized images accordingly. The cortication assessment was done using [Table 1].[3]
Figure 1: (a and d) Reveals the sagittal section of the condylar region showing cortication grading I. (b and e) Reveals the sagittal section of the condylar region showing cortication grading II. (c and f) Reveals the sagittal section of the condylar region showing cortication grading III

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Figure 2: (a,b,c) reveals the skeletonized images of the mandibular condyle – cortical bone with cortication grade I (a), II (b) and III (c)

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Table 1: Cortication grade for assessment of mandibular condyle

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The images were assessed by three examiners separately in a 15.6 inch HD LED screen of Lenovo laptop with Intel i3core. The examiners procured a maximum of 2 min for the evaluation of one image. A maximum of 10 images were assessed continuously to avoid any visual fatigue for the examiners. The examiners were allowed only to adjust the brightness, contrast, and zoom of an image. The demographic age of the patient was retrieved from the CBCT data to correlate the chronological age and condyle cortication grading.

The results were analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Analysis for the Social Science) software version 25.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp. The inter-examiner reliability was done using Cohen's kappa measurement of agreement and Spearman's correlation coefficient was done to see the relationship between condyle cortication and chronological age.

   Results Top

Forty patients were recruited for the study in which 17 were female and 23 were male. The mean age of the patients at the time of CBCT acquisition was 18.3 years (range 12–28). All the patients in the study had CBCT of both the condyles and satisfied the inclusion criteria. The cortication grading done by examiners in both the software systems and their Cohen's Kappa inter-examiner reliability is represented in [Table 2] and [Table 3].
Table 2: Cohen's Kappa inter-examiner reliability between three examiners in the carestream application

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Table 3: Cohenfs Kappa inter-examiner reliability between three examiners in the carestream application

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The Cohen's Kappa inter-examiner reliability between the three examiners in the Carestream application system revealed P < 0.001 [Table 2] which was found to be significant, and the Cohen's Kappa inter-examiner reliability between the three examiners in Image J application revealed a P < 0.001 [Table 3] which was found to be significant.

The cortication grading assessed by the three examiners were correlated with the chronological age in both the applications using spearman's correlation coefficient [Table 4] and [Table 5]. The correlation between examiner's age grading in Carestream application with chronological age by spearman's correlation coefficient was found to be highly significant [Table 4] and the correlation between examiner's age grading in Image J application with chronological age by spearman's correlation coefficient was found to be highly significant [Table 5].
Table 4: Spearman's correlation efficient between examiner's age grading and chronological age in Carestream application

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Table 5: Spearman's correlation efficient between examiner's age grading and chronological age in Image J application

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   Discussion Top

Forensic dentistry is an essential part of forensic medicine and it plays a prime role in the identification of human remains through age estimation and sex determination.[4] The chronological age can be determined with the available data such as height, weight, pubertal, and dental findings. They are evaluated using morphological, radiological, and histological methods.[4] The morphologic and radiographic techniques are simpler than histological evaluation; the radiographic technique is tranquil and reliable.[5] Chronological age can be determined with the assessment of skeletal factors such as assessment of skull closure and cervical vertebrae maturity index. Odontological factors such as coronal root index, tooth to pulp ratio, degree of resorption in deciduous and permanent teeth also aid in the age estimation.[5] Radiological age assessment is a serene technique to evaluate the bone morphology and bone structure with various radiographic modalities such as periapical radiographs, cephalometric radiographs, panoramic radiographs, and advanced three dimensional imaging.[5] CBCT plays an integral role in diagnosis and treatment planning because of its three-dimensional imaging system of the hard tissues at a considerably low radiation dose and maximal area coverage.[6] TMJ evaluation has been an enigma for dental professionals. CBCT is a promising modality for imaging of TMJ,[7] and there are various bone parameters in the developing software systems using CBCT images for its accuracy in clinical findings.[8] There are various software systems for analyzing bone parameters such as bone structure, pattern, and outline of subchondral bone formation.[9] This study focused on the dynamic part of the joint, the mandibular condyle and its cortication level assessment.

The cortical bone initiates from the periphery around the condyle at the adolescent age and it continues as a homogeneous band of the compact cortical bone till the end stage of adolescence. Morimoto et al.[10] studied the maturation of condyle in children using magnetic resonance imaging with a Double Contour-Like-Structure (DCLS) in 72 subjects, which revealed that the occurrence of DCLS increases with age.[10] Lei et al.[11] classified the cortical bone formation of condyle with the presence of a cortical bony layer in the periphery of the condyle using CBCT.[11]

Renders et al.[12] studied the degree of mineralization of bone in the condyle, which revealed that there was a significant difference in the degree of mineralization on the lateral, anterior and superior surface of the condyle with age.[12] Bayrak et al.[13] studied mandibular condyle superior surface for cortication grading and spheno-occipital synchondrosis in correlation with chronological age using CBCT images of 253 patients. The density of the cortication was assessed and it revealed that the density of cortication increased with age.[13] Our study results were similar to the results of Bayrak et al.[3],[13] Ingevall et al.[14] used TME specimens for condyle cortication using micro radiograms in 22 subjects. Their results reveal that Type I and Type III cortication is seen at the maximum age of 31 years.[14] Yalcin and Bozan[15] studied 520 subjects CBCT scans to understand the relationship between mandibular condyle cortication, articular eminence cortication and mandibular cortex index with age and gender. Their results revealed that these cortication had correlated with age and gender and these cortication grades could be used to understand the TMJ disorders and to predict the osteoporotic changes of TMJ.[15]

The null hypothesis of our study stating no difference in the evaluation of condyle cortication in two different application modalities and there is a significant correlation between chronological age and condyle cortication. In this study, 80 TMJs were assessed for condyle cortication in Carestream and image J application. There was significant level of agreement between the examiners. Hence condyle cortication could be used as a tool in forensic dentistry to evaluate chronological age. The developing software applications could be used as a platform to view condyle and analyze them in future research. The major limitation of the study was sample size and lack of gender analysis from the condyle cortication. This study did not show any significant difference between two applications on condyle cortication assessment. Therefore, the study requires a larger sample size for significant results.

   Conclusion Top

In this study, we evaluated the distribution and deposition of cortical bone in the mandibular condyle. The results of this study highlighted the use of cortical bone around the mandibular condyle. There was a significant relationship between mandibular condyle cortication and chronological age estimation, which could as a forensic tool in forensic dentistry. The study also enlightens the use of developing applications to view and analyze CBCT scans as these applications can be used in future research for analyzing the structures. Hence, these two applications (Carestream imaging and Image J) could be used for mandibular condyle. Further research with a larger sample size is required to analyze the relationship between mandibular condyle cortication and gender.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Mérida-Velasco JR, Rodríguez-Vázquez JF, Mérida-Velasco JA, Sánchez-Montesinos I, Espín-Ferra J, Jiménez-Collado J. Development of the human temporomandibular joint. Anat Rec 1999;255:20-33.  Back to cited text no. 1
Yuodelis RA. The morphogenesis of the human temporomandibular joint and its associated structures. J Dent Res 1966;45:182-91.  Back to cited text no. 2
Bayrak S, Halıcıoglu S, Kose G, Halıcıoglu K. Evaluation of the relationship between mandibular condyle cortication and chronologic age with cone beam computed tomography. J Forensic Leg Med 2018;55:39-44.  Back to cited text no. 3
Schmeling A, Geserick G, Reisinger W, Olze A. Age estimation. Forensic Sci Int 2007;165:178-81.  Back to cited text no. 4
Panchbhai AS. Dental radiographic indicators, a key to age estimation. Dentomaxillofac Radiol 2011;40:199-212.  Back to cited text no. 5
Gupta M, Mishra P, Srivastava R, Jyoti B. Cone beam computed tomography: A new vision in dentistry. Digit Med 2015;1:7.  Back to cited text no. 6
  [Full text]  
Hilgers ML, Scarfe WC, Scheetz JP, Farman AG. Accuracy of linear temporomandibular joint measurements with cone beam computed tomography and digital cephalometric radiography. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2005;128:803-11.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ebrahim FH, Ruellas AC, Paniagua B, Benavides E, Jepsen K, Wolford L, et al. Accuracy of biomarkers obtained from cone beam computed tomography in assessing the internal trabecular structure of the mandibular condyle. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol 2017;124:588-99.  Back to cited text no. 8
Bianchi J, Gonçalves JR, Ruellas AC, Vimort JB, Yatabe M, Paniagua B, et al. Software comparison to analyze bone radiomics from high resolution CBCT scans of mandibular condyles. Dentomaxillofac Radiol 2019;48:20190049.  Back to cited text no. 9
Morimoto Y, Konoo T, Tominaga K, Tanaka T, Yamaguchi K, Fukuda J, et al. Relationship between cortical bone formation on mandibular condyles and alternation of the magnetic resonance signals characteristic of growth. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2007;131:473-80.  Back to cited text no. 10
Lei J, Liu MQ, Yap AU, Fu KY. Condylar subchondral formation of cortical bone in adolescents and young adults. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2013;51:63-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
Renders GA, Mulder L, van Ruijven LJ, van Eijden TM. Degree and distribution of mineralization in the human mandibular condyle. Calcif Tissue Int 2006;79:190-6.  Back to cited text no. 12
Bayrak S, Göller Bulut D. Relationship between condyle cortication, sphenooccipital synchondrosis, and chronological age. Oral Radiol 2020;36:190-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
Ingevall B, Carlsson GE, Thilander B. Postnatal development of the human temporomandibular joint. II. A microradiographic study. Acta Odontol Scand 1976;34:133-9.  Back to cited text no. 14
Yalcin ED, Bozan C. Relationship between mandibular condyle and articular eminence cortication with mandibular cortical index on cone-beam CT. Surg Radiol Anat 2020;42:515-22.  Back to cited text no. 15


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]


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