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Surg Radiol Anat. 2003 Nov-Dec;25(5-6):416-23. Epub 2003 Sep 11.

Presence and course of the incisive canal in the human mandibular interforaminal region: two-dimensional imaging versus anatomical observations.

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  • 1Oral Imaging Center, School of Dentistry, Oral Pathology and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 7, 3000, Leuven, Belgium.


The objective of the present study was to evaluate the presence and course of the incisive canal in the mental interforaminal region of the human mandible and to describe the occurrence of anatomical variations. Mandibles of 50 adult human cadavers were retrieved from the Department of Anatomy of the Faculty of Medicine, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Leuven, Belgium). Forty mandibles were edentulous, while 10 mandibles were partially dentate. Intra-oral, panoramic and tomographic imaging of the interforaminal region of the human mandible were performed. Afterwards, mandibles were sawn into vertical sections according to the respective tomographic cross-sections. The latter allowed exploration for the presence and course of an anterior prolongation of the mandibular canal. Measurements of the location of the incisive canal towards the base of the mandible were made using a digital-sliding caliper. Results indicated a well-defined incisive canal [mean (SD) inner diameter 1.8 (0.5 mm)], macroscopically observed in 96% of mandibles. The incisive canal was located on average 9.7 mm (SD 1.8 mm) from the lower cortical border and continued towards the incisor region in a slightly downward direction, with a mean (SD) distance to the lower cortical border of 7.2 (2.1) mm. It was concluded that there is an anterior intraosseous extension of the mandibular canal, denoted as the incisive canal. The latter might be considered as a true anterior extension of the neurovascular bundle. Histological and neurophysiological studies are needed to verify this hypothesis and evaluate its potential clinical implications.

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