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Minerva Stomatol. 2009 May;58(5):209-15.

Anatomical variations of the mandibular nerve and its branches correlated to clinical situations.

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University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.



The mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve is the largest of the three major divisions of the trigeminal nerve (fifth cranial nerve). In this way, many health professionals belonged to different fields are commonly evaluating patients suffering with orofacial pain and stomatognatic dysfunction associated to this structure. But, in the most cases, it is difficult to establish a correct diagnosis due to the anatomical complexity of the head and neck surfaces, especially when the focus is the trigeminal nerve. Thus, the objective of this research was to present the anatomical variations of the mandibular nerve and its branches correlated to more common clinical situations.


For this purpose, 20 human heads were anatomically dissected, so to study their structures, an external, medial and endocranial view.


No significant variations related to ophthalmic and maxillary nerves were observed. Anatomical variations were observed in 20% of the total human heads dissected, all related to mandibular nerve and its branches: masseter, temporal, auriculotemporal and lingual. Variations in three to seven, on the number of the following nerves ramus, masseter and temporal were described.


According to the present data using the described methodology, it was possible to conclude that anatomical variations are present in many subjects and they can explain many clinical situations that involve the stomatognathic structures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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