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Balaji T, Sharmila Saran R, Vaithianathan G, Aruna S
Correspondence: Dr Thotakura Balaji, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction The lingual, inferior alveolar and auriculotemporal nerves, being branches of the posterior division of the mandibular nerve, mainly innervate the mandibular teeth and all the major salivary glands. Anomalous communications among these branches are widely reported due to their significance to various treatment procedures undertaken in the region. This study was performed as detailed exploration of the functional perspectives of such communicating branches would further enhance the scope of these procedures.
Methods A total of 36 specimens were dissected to examine the infratemporal region. The branches from the posterior division of the mandibular nerve – namely the lingual, inferior alveolar and auriculotemporal nerves – were carefully dissected, and their branches were studied and analysed for abnormal course.
Results Communication between branches of the posterior division of the mandibular nerve was observed in four specimens. In two of the four specimens, communication between the mylohyoid and lingual nerves was observed. A rare and seldom reported type of communication between the auriculotemporal and inferior alveolar nerves is described in this study. This communicating nerve split into two to form a buttonhole for the passage of the mylohyoid nerve.
Conclusion Such communicating branches between nerves found in this study are developmental in origin and thought to maintain functional integrity through an alternative route.
Keywords: auriculotemporal, inferior alveolar, lingual, mandibular, mylohyoid
Singapore Med J 2013; 54(3): 149-151; doi:10.11622/smedj.2013051
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