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Nerve Morbidity after Mandibular Third Molar Surgery: A Prospective Study of Two Cohorts of Patients

Background: The surgical extractions of impacted mandibular third molars are sometimes associated with nerve morbidity.

Objective: To determine the incidence of nerve morbidity after mandibular third molar surgery and compare the complications from the inferior alveolar and lingual nerves in two cohorts of patients.

Patients and methods: This prospective study was an investigation of two cohorts of patients within duration of four years. The sample size was composed of 212 subjects, made up of 28 patients who had their impacted third molars in close contact with the inferior alveolar canal and 184 patients that did not have their molars in contact. The predictor variables were age, gender, type of impaction, indications for extraction, difficulty index and duration of surgery. The outcome variable was the development of neuro-sensory complication(s) after treatment. Descriptive and bivariate statistics were computed and the P value was set at 0.05.

Results: There was no significant relationship between the predictor variables in the two groups. The result showed that 6/212 (2.8%) patients complained of numbness of the ipsilateral lower lip and part of the cheek. Out of this 4/28 (14.3%) were in those that had their molars in close contact with inferior alveolar canal while 2/184 (1.1%) were cases that didn’t make contact. No complication occurred that was related to the lingual nerve. Conclusion: Nerve morbidity occurred after third molar surgery and the incidence is commoner in cases where the third molar made contact with inferior alveolar canal.


Charles E Anyanechi and Birch D Saheeb

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