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Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2007 Oct;36(10):922-7. Epub 2007 Sep 17.

Clinical characteristics of trigeminal nerve injury referrals to a university centre.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB #7450, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7450, USA.


The aim of this retrospective study was to determine the aetiology and characteristics of trigeminal nerve injuries referred to a university centre with nerve injury care. Fifty-nine patients with 73 injured trigeminal nerves were referred in 10 months. The most common aetiologies were odontectomy (third molar surgery) (52.1% of nerves), local anaesthetic (LA) injections (12.3%), orthognathic surgery (12.3%) and implant surgery (11.0%). The inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) was most commonly injured nerve (64.4%), followed by the lingual nerve (LN) (28.8%). About a quarter of IAN injuries (27.3%) and half of LN injuries (57.1%) from odontectomy had severe sensory impairment. There were twice as many LN than IAN injuries from local anaesthetic injections, but all had mild or no sensory impairment. Nerve injuries from implant surgery occurred only in IAN injuries; none had severe sensory impairment. Neuropathic pain occurred in 14.9% of IAN injuries and only in those with mild or no sensory impairment. Nerve surgery was offered to 45.8% of patients; a third underwent surgery.

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