Introduction: Trigeminal neuropathy is most often secondary to trauma. The present study explores the underlying causes and the factors that influence recovery.
Material and methods: A retrospective case study was made involving 63 patients with trigeminal neuropathy of traumatologic origin, subjected to follow-up for at least 12 months.
Results: Fifty-four percent of all cases were diagnosed after mandibular third molar surgery. In 37 and 19 patients the sensory defect was located in the territory innervated by the mental and lingual nerve, respectively. Pain was reported in 57% of the cases, and particularly among the older patients. Regarding patient disability, quality of life was not affected in three cases, while mild alterations were recorded in 25 subjects and severe alterations in 8. Partial or complete recovery was observed in 25 cases after 6 months, and in 32 after one year. There were few recoveries after this period of time. Recovery proved faster in the youngest patients, who moreover were the individuals with the least pain.
Conclusion: Our patients with trigeminal neuropathy recovered particularly in the first 6 months and up to one year after injury. The older patients more often suffered pain associated to the sensory defect. On the other hand, their discomfort was more intense, and the patients with most pain and the poorest clinical scores also showed a comparatively poorer course.