Larry Wangai, Pamela Mandela, Fawzia Butt, Kevin Ongeti

Correspondence: Larry Mburu, Department of Human Anatomy University of Nairobi PO Box 30197 – 00100 NAIROBI, KENYA.

Use of condylar prostheses in mandibular reconstructive surgery is increasing in Kenya. To retain functional capability, condylar prostheses have to preserve the form of the condyle. Although condylar shape and size have been shown to vary between populations, few studies of these have been done in Africans. This study aimed to describe the morphology of the mandibular condyle in a Kenyan population. Sixty three mandibles of African origin were used. Condylar shape was assessed from the anterior, superior and lateral aspects as per a scheme used by Wedel et al. (1978).  Data collected were analyzed using SPSS v.17 for frequencies and represented using tables, charts and photographs. The commonest shapes were:  slightly convex anteriorly (71.43%); oblong superiorly (73.02%); and convex laterally (80.16%). Only the lateral shape displayed sexual dimorphism, with 100% of females but 88.33% of males having the C1 (convex) shape. Asymmetry was found in 12 (19.05%) of the mandibles. Right and left condyles are similar in shape in most cases but the frequency of the convex lateral shape displayed sexual variation. The mandibular condyles of Kenyans were different in frequency of convex lateral and anterior shapes from condyles of other populations recorded in literature. These differences in morphology imply that condylar measurements cannot be generalized in the manufacture of condylar prostheses and have to be customized for the local population as well as for male and female condyles.

Key words: Mandibular condyle, shape

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