Sensory Testing of Inferior Alveolar Nerve Injuries: A Review of Methods Used in Prospective Studies

LJ (Lucas) Poort, Han van Neck, Karel Wal

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116 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) can be injured during trauma or Surgery. So far there is no consensus for evaluating IAN injury. This study aimed to identify a testing method Suitable for daily clinical practice which allows us to identify nerve injury, grade its severity, and monitor its recovery. Materials and Methods: Covering a 20-year period, prospective studies on sensory changes after mandibular procedures were reviewed regarding sensory testing methods; 75 studies on third molar removal, osteotomy, fracture, and implants were included. Results: These studies reported varying incidences. In third molar removal and implant studies, a limited number of sensory tests were used, whereas in osteotomy and fracture studies more detailed testing was performed, using reproducible tests like light touch test with Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments and 2-point discrimination. Conclusions: Sensory function was not uniformly tested and presented, making a comparison of data impossible and highlighting the need for uniform testing methodology. Based on the results of this review, the light touch test with Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments for grading is recommended, using a grid and control site describing unilateral or bilateral nerve injury. Additionally, a visual analog scale-based questionnaire should be used to evaluate subjective sensibility. Using this method to test IAN injuries will allow comparison of future studies and provide valuable insight in the severity and prognosis of IAN injuries. (C) 2009 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)292-300
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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