Vol. 33, Nº 4

Anatomical variation of the alveolar inferior nerve: a case report

Azeredo, R. A.; Cesconetto, L. A.; Torres, L. H. S.

KEYWORDS: anatomical variations, inferior alveolar nerve, lateral pterygoid muscle.

ABSTRACT: Introduction: The mandibular nerve is the third and inferior division of the trigeminal nerve. One of its branches, the inferior alveolar nerve, is one among the three branches of the posterior division of the mandibular nerve, it supplies the lower jaw and teeth. However, variations of the inferior alveolar nerve branches have been of major concern in the performance of surgical procedure and anesthesia in dental and maxillofacial practice. Method and Results: A variant branch arising from the alveolar inferior nerve before it enters in the mandibular foramen were discovered during a dissection routine. The branch can be described as a variation referring to inferior alveolar nerve as a recurrent branch towards superior, posterior and medial entering in the lateral pterygoid muscle, leaving inferior alveolar nerve before the nerve for mylohyoid muscle. The nerve were found in the in both infratemporal fossa. Conclusion: Knowledge of the variations of the mandibular nerve, its branches and communications are clinically important especially for dental surgeons to understand the effectiveness of the nerve block and complications following regional anesthesia.