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Diagnosis, pathophysiology, management and future issues of trigeminal surgical nerve injuries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

T. Renton, F. Van Der Cruyssen

Original languageEnglish
JournalOral Surgery
Early online date19 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Dec 2019

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Abstract

The trigeminal nerve constitutes the largest sensory cortex representation in the brain compared with other sensory nerves. This is likely due to the fact that the trigeminal nerve underpins our very existence, as it sensorially protects, our five senses including the organs that provide sight, smell, taste, hearing, speech and meninges protecting our brain. Thus, when trigeminal nerve injuries occur, which in the main are preventable and painful, the majority of patients experience mixed symptoms including altered sensation, numbness and ongoing or elicited neuropathic pain. These neuropathic features cause significant impact on the patients’ ability to function, for example cold allodynia prevents the patient enjoying cold foods and drinks and undertaking out‐door activities or mechanical allodynia frequently interferes with eating, speaking, kissing and sleep. The resultant chronic symptoms and functional impedance result in significant psychological morbidity. Prevention of nerve injuries related to local anaesthesia (LA), endodontics, implants and third molar surgery is imperative as there is no magic bullet to repair these sensory nerve injuries with their related neuropathic pain. Some causes have higher levels of resolution (third molar surgery and LA) some lower levels of resolution (implant surgery and endodontics) and many patient factors will dictate the prevalence of chronic neuropathic pain. The patient must have appropriate consent and their expectations managed with understanding the potential benefits and risks for their chosen interventions. The authors have aimed to provide an up to date evidence base for diagnosis and management of trigeminal nerve injuries.

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