Inferior alveolar nerve injury following orthognathic surgery: a review of assessment issues

J Oral Rehabil. 2011 Jul;38(7):547-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2010.02176.x. Epub 2010 Nov 9.


The sensory branches of the trigeminal nerve encode information about facial expressions, speaking and chewing movements, and stimuli that come into contact with the orofacial tissues. Whatever the cause, damage to the inferior alveolar nerve negatively affects the quality of facial sensibility as well as the patient's ability to translate patterns of altered nerve activity into functionally meaningful motor behaviours. There is no generally accepted, standard method of estimating sensory disturbances in the distribution of the inferior alveolar nerve following injury. Assessment of sensory alterations can be conducted using three types of measures: (i) objective electrophysiological measures of nerve conduction, (ii) sensory testing (stimulus) measures and (iii) patient report. Each type of measure with advantages and disadvantages for use are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandibular Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Neural Conduction*
  • Orthognathic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Trigeminal Nerve Injuries