Mandibular canal vs. inferior alveolar canal: Evidence-based terminology analysis

Joe Iwanaga, Yuki Matsushita, Tess Decater, Soichiro Ibaragi, R. Shane Tubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The mandibular canal, as it was formerly named in Terminologia Anatomica (TA), has also been called the inferior alveolar (nerve) canal in many scientific publications. This study was conducted to investigate how these terms have been understood in different regions and different areas of expertise and to discuss the appropriate future application of the term “mandibular canal.”. Methods: A literature search was conducted using PubMed, and articles using different terms for this structure were classified into two groups, inferior alveolar canal/inferior alveolar nerve canal (IAC/IANC) and the mandibular canal (MC). The 50 most recent articles in each group were included. Publication year, journal title, country of the first author, and affiliation of all authors were recorded in both groups for all 100 articles. Results: There was a significant difference between the IAC/IANC and MC groups in the numbers of anatomy journals, other journals, and anatomy affiliations. Turkey published most frequently with a total of 15 articles, followed by Iran with 10 articles, and China/India/United States with seven each. When the six countries of the first author that had three or more publications in each group were compared, only Turkey appeared in both groups; otherwise, different countries were in the two groups. Conclusions: Based on the results of this analysis, and considering that the tentative new term “inferior alveolar foramen” is used in the latest TA, we suggest that the mandibular canal should be renamed the “inferior alveolar canal.”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Terminologia Anatomica
  • dentistry
  • inferior alveolar canal
  • inferior alveolar foramen
  • mandibular canal
  • mandibular foramen
  • terminology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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