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A Journal on Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery
Minerva Stomatologica 2002 November-December;51(11-12):461-72
Orthognathic surgery. Study of nerve injuries
Nardi P., Guarducci M., Cervino M.
The correction of oral and maxillo-facial malformations causes lesions to sensitive nerves due to the invasive and traumatic surgery techniques required. Generally neuro-sensory and cutaneous-mucosal defects are reversible, with full recovery within 6-12 months. In a follow-up study (2 and 8 years) we found altered tactile and pain sensitivity in 43% of patients at subjective evaluation, with objective alteration in 17% of the group. Dental sensitivity evaluated by a pulp test showed an increase in for all teeth tested; values were higher for superior than for inferior teeth. Despite the increased pulp sensitivity threshold, due to the surgical damage, no signs of pulp disease were detected. Quality of life was not affected even by such a high subjective change in sensitivity. We therefore believe that patients undergoing orthognathic surgery must be fully informed; they must be made to understand the risks involved, and that damage may occur to sensitive nerves following surgery. All surgeons, including those with experience in the field, should continually seek to improve their skill and learn new techniques, in order to reduce complications to a minimum.