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Clin Oral Investig. 2019 Nov 21. doi: 10.1007/s00784-019-03152-z. [Epub ahead of print]

Is it safe to drive after oral surgery?

Author information

1
University Hospital for Craniomaxillofacial and Oral Surgery, Innsbruck, Austria.
2
, Salzburg, Austria. science@bruckmoser.info.
3
Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.
4
University Hospital for Vascular Surgery, Innsbruck, Austria.
5
University Hospital for Dental Prosthetics and Restorative Dentistry, Innsbruck, Austria.
6
University Hospital for Orthopedic Surgery, Innsbruck, Austria.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Driving ability largely depends on the total brake response time (TBRT) corresponding to the time a subject needs to react to a stimulus and apply a well-defined force on the brake pedal. As yet, the English literature completely lacks clinical studies evaluating the TBRT following oral surgery.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

In this case-control study, a driving simulator was used to evaluate the TBRT in patients scheduled for oral surgery in local anesthesia. Measurements were taken shortly before (t1) and after (t2) surgery as well as 7-10 days later (t3) when sutures were removed. Results were compared to data of a group of healthy volunteers.

RESULTS:

Seventy-three patients (37 women, 36 men) underwent evaluation at t1, t2, and t3. In 13 patients who did not return for removal of sutures, only measurements at t1 and t2 could be performed. The median TBRT was 583 milliseconds (ms), 634 ms, and 520 ms at t1, t2, and t3, respectively. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences between readings at t1 versus t2 (t = - 4.944, p < 0.001), t1 versus t3 (t = 7.454, p < 0.001), and t2 versus t3 (t = 11.971, p < 0.001). There was no significant difference between TBRT at t3 in study subjects compared to normal reference values of 67 healthy volunteers. TBRT was significantly increased immediately after oral surgery (t2) compared to measurements 7-10 days postoperatively (t3). Since readings at t3 did not differ from TBRT values in the comparison group, they were considered normal.

CONCLUSIONS:

Due to significantly elevated total brake response time, driving ability is assumed to be considerably affected following oral surgery, and patients should be advised to abstain from driving immediately after such operations.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Our study results put into question patients' driving ability following dentoalveolar procedures which should be considered regarding informed consent and could potentially have consequences on health issues (road traffic accidents) as well as legal and financial matters (court charges, insurance claims).

KEYWORDS:

Brake reaction time; Brake response time; Driving ability; Fitness to drive; Oral surgery

PMID:
31748983
DOI:
10.1007/s00784-019-03152-z

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