Virtual Surgical Planning for Inferior Alveolar Nerve Reconstruction

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2017 Nov;75(11):2442-2448. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2017.04.001. Epub 2017 Apr 12.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the outcomes after preoperative virtual surgical planning (VSP) for inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) reconstruction in ablative mandibular surgery.

Materials and methods: We performed a retrospective evaluation of consecutive surgical cases using standard VSP for hard tissue resection and reconstructive surgery in addition to IAN VSP performed simultaneously during surgery. Cases were assessed regarding the planning time, additional costs involved, surgeon's subjective impression of the process, accuracy of the prediction during surgery, and operative time during surgery compared with cases performed without VSP.

Results: The study sample was composed of 5 cases of mandibular resection for benign disease, with bony, soft tissue, and neural reconstruction with the use of VSP. The addition of IAN reconstruction to the VSP session added no additional expense to the planning session but resulted in an additional 22.5 minutes (±7.5 minutes) for the webinar session. From a subjective standpoint, IAN VSP provided the surgeon with a discreet plan for surgery. From an objective standpoint, IAN VSP provided the exact length and diameter of nerve graft required for surgery, facilitated the surgeon's ability to visualize the actual nerve graft procedure, and limited the additional time required for simultaneous nerve reconstruction.

Conclusions: Despite perceived prejudice against simultaneous IAN reconstruction with complex mandibular resection and reconstruction, the use of IAN VSP may facilitate the actual surgical procedure and result in considerably improved patient outcomes without considerable additional time or cost associated with this protocol.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandible / surgery*
  • Mandibular Nerve / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods
  • Oral Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted*
  • Young Adult