PURPOSE: To compare the effects of two stretching devices, the TheraBite® Jaw Motion Rehabilitation System™ and the Dynasplint Trismus System®, on maximal mouth opening in head and neck cancer patients.
METHODS: Patients were randomly assigned to one of two exercise groups: the TheraBite® Jaw Motion Rehabilitation System™ group or the Dynasplint Trismus System® group. Patients performed stretching exercises for 3 months. During the three study visits, maximal mouth opening was measured and the patients completed questionnaires on mandibular function and quality of life.
RESULTS: In our study population (n = 27), five patients did not start the exercise protocol, eight patients discontinued exercises, and two patients were lost to follow-up. No significant differences regarding the change in mouth opening between the two devices were found. Patients had an increase in MMO of 3.0 mm (IQR - 2.0; 4.0) using the TheraBite® Jaw Motion Rehabilitation System™ and 1.5 mm (IQR 1.0; 3.0) using the Dynasplint Trismus System®. Exercising with either stretching device was challenging for the patients due to the intensive exercise protocol, pain during the exercises, fitting problems with the stretching device, and overall deterioration of their medical condition.
CONCLUSIONS: The effects of the two stretching devices did not differ significantly in our study population. The factors described, influencing the progression of stretching exercises, need to be taken into account when prescribing a similar stretching regimen for trismus in head and neck cancer patients.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NTR - Dutch Trial Register number: 5589.