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J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 1994 Jun;22(3):156-62.

Assessment of trigeminal nerve function by means of short-latency somatosensory evoked potentials after microneurosurgical repair.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


In order to evaluate accurately trigeminal nerve damage and the response to microneurosurgical treatment, a reproducible, objective test of trigeminal nerve function is required. This study investigates the use of somatosensory evoked potentials as an objective monitor of trigeminal nerve function after microneurosurgical repair. We examined 10 patients, all but 1 treated for gnathic disorders, in whom a severe iatrogenic injury to the inferior alveolar nerve occurred unilaterally. One patient underwent partial mandibulectomy with sacrifice of the nerve because of a malignant tumour. A significant difference in trigeminal somatosensory evoked potential latencies after stimulation of the normal side of the lower jaw compared with the response after stimulation of the affected side was to be expected. Immediate microneurosurgical repair was carried out in 7 patients. The trigeminal somatosensory evoked potential latencies after right and left sided stimulation of the mandible did not differ significantly after subjective successful microneurosurgical repair. Somatosensory evoked potential testing appears to represent an objective method of evaluating trigeminal nerve function, in particular in relation to microneurosurgical procedures. The results of trigeminal testing should improve after technical refinement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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