Purpose: This study investigates the self-reported immune-related health status of patients exposed to Proplast-Teflon (P/T) temporomandibular joint (TMJ) implants, comparing their health status with a group of patients who were not exposed to any alloplastic TMJ implants. It also compares those whose implants were removed with those in whom they were retained. Patients and Methods: Patients seen in a single oral and maxillofacial surgical practice completed a detailed self-report questionnaire about physical symptoms and disorders. Sixty-four had received P/T implants, and 22 were unexposed to any TMJ alloplastic implant. Of the P/T-exposed group, 44 had removed and 20 had retained implants. Results: In general, P/T-exposed patients did not differ from unexposed patients in rates of reported immune- mediated and somatization-related conditions, allergies, or symptoms of environmental sensitivity. However, patients with removed P/T implants reported significantly more problems in all categories of conditions than those with retained P/T implants. This difference was no longer statistically significant after controlling for pain severity and sex. Conclusions: Although P/T-exposed patients do not report more systemic health conditions than similar patients who were unexposed to alloplastic jaw implants, those with removed implants report more conditions and are more likely to be seen in clinical practice. This may lead to a bias in the general perception regarding the systemic health status of P/T-exposed patients. In addition, effects may be secondary to high levels of pain and dysfunction among patients with removed implants, rather than implant exposure itself. Future prospective research is needed to identify factors associated with implant failure.
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