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Anat Cell Biol

Published online August 20, 2020

https://doi.org/10.5115/acb.20.145

Copyright © Korean Association of ANATOMISTS.

An unusual anatomical variation of the inferior alveolar nerve

Shogo Maekawa1,2,3 , Mizuki Nagata4 , Yuki Matsushita4,5 , R. Shane Tubbs6,9,10,11 , Joe Iwanaga6,7,8

1Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI, 2Biointerfaces Institute, North Campus Research Complex, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, 3Department of Periodontology, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan, 4Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, 5Department of Clinical Oral Oncology, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki, Japan, 6Department of Neurosurgery, Tulane Center for Clinical Neurosciences, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA, 7Dental and Oral Medical Center, Kurume University School of Medicine, Fukuoka, 8Division of Gross and Clinical Anatomy, Department of Anatomy, Kurume University School of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan, 9Department of Neurosurgery and Ochsner Neuroscience Institute, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA, USA, 10Department of Anatomical Sciences, St. George’s University, St. George’s, Grenada, 11Department of Structural & Cellular Biology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA , USA

Correspondence to:Joe Iwanaga
Department of Neurosurgery, Tulane Center for Clinical Neurosciences, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
E-mail: iwanagajoeca@gmail.com

Received: June 9, 2020; Revised: July 14, 2020; Accepted: July 30, 2020

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A number of studies have previously shown variations of inferior alveolar, however, only a few reports focused on nearby the foramen ovale. In a formalin fixed cadaver, we identified three minor branches (anterior, middle, and posterior branches) arising from the main trunk of the mandibular nerve adjacent to the foramen ovale, passing lateral to the maxillary artery (MA), and joining the inferior alveolar nerve. The diameter of the branches was 0.68 mm, 1.43 mm, and 0.40 mm, respectively. The branches traveled inside the lateral pterygoid muscle (LPM) or between the LPM and tensor/levator veli palatini. Moreover, all of the branches were superficial to MA. Knowledge of such a variation might be helpful to dentists during, for example, anesthetic blockade and various oral surgeries.

Keywords: Cadaver, Clinical anatomy, Inferior alveolar nerve, Lingual nerve, Mandibular nerve

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