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J Orofac Pain. 2011 Fall;25(4):333-44.

Profiling of patients presenting with posttraumatic neuropathy of the trigeminal nerve.

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Department of Oral Surgery, King's College London Dental Institute, London, UK.



To describe the cause, clinical signs, and symptoms of patients presenting to a tertiary care center with iatrogenic lesions to the mandibular branches of the trigeminal nerve.


Pain history, pain scores using the visual analog scale, and mechanosensory testing results were recorded from 93 patients with iatrogenic lingual nerve injuries (LNI) and 90 patients with iatrogenic inferior alveolar nerve injuries (IANI). Results were analyzed using the SPSS statistical software. Chi-square tests were applied for nonparametric testing of frequencies, where P ⋜ .05 indicated statistical significance. Appropriate correlations were also carried out between certain data sets.


Significantly more females were referred than males (P < .05). Overall, third molar surgery (TMS) caused 73% of LNI, followed by local anesthesia (LA) (17%). More diverse procedures caused IANI, including TMS (60%), LA (19%), implants (18%), and endodontics (8%). Approximately 70% of patients presented with neuropathic pain coincident with anesthesia and÷or paresthesia. Neuropathy was demonstrable in all patients with varying degrees of loss of mechanosensory function, paresthesia, dysesthesia, allodynia, and hyperalgesia. Functionally, IANI and LNI patients mostly had problems with speech and eating, where speech was affected amongst significantly more patients with LNI (P < .001). Sleep, brushing teeth, and drinking were significantly more problematic for IANI patients (P < .05, P < .001, and P < .0001, respectively).


Neuropathic pain, as well as anesthesia, frequently occurs following iatrogenic trigeminal nerve injury similar to other posttraumatic sensory nerve injuries. This must be acknowledged by clinicians as a relatively common problem and informed consent appropriately formulated for patients at risk of trigeminal nerve injuries in relation to dentistry requires revision.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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