Correlating the intra-operative position of the inferior alveolar nerve with pre-operative cone- beam computer tomography in bilateral sagittal split osteotomies
Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate whether a correlation exists between the intra- operative position of the Inferior Alveolar Nerve (IAN) and the nerve position as noted on a pre-operative Cone Beam Computer Tomography (CBCT) scan in patients requiring Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy (BSSO) of the mandible. Introduction: The BSSO of the mandible is of fundamental importance in the correction of dental facial deformities. The main post-operative complication of a BSSO of the mandible is Neurosensory Impairment (NSI). To avoid possible NSI it is important to have as much pre- operative information as possible. In this regard, pre-operative CBCT scans can provide the surgeon with an important assessment of the mandibular canal. This information on the buccolingual, superior and inferior position of the canal, especially in the region of the planned osteotomy, could help the surgical team to avoid IAN injury. Materials and Methods: This study correlates the pre-operative position of the IAN as indicated on a CBCT scan with the intra-operative IAN position in patients requiring BSSO of the mandible. Ten standardised cases were included in a prospective case series where twenty mandibular sides were assessed. Results: The variables assessed in this study were location of the nerve, age, sex, type of movement and side of mandible operated on. It was found that only the distance between the Inferior Alveolar Canal (IAC) and the lower border of the mandible are predictive of whether the IAN will be attached to - or free from - the proximal segment of the mandible. Conclusion: From the study it can be concluded that a CBCT scan is a useful and reliable modality in the pre-operative evaluation of patients undergoing BSSO especially with regard to the assessment and mapping of the mandibular canal.