What are the retromolar and bifid/trifid mandibular canals as seen on cone-beam computed tomography? Revisiting classic gross anatomy of the inferior alveolar nerve and correcting terminology

Joe Iwanaga, Yohei Takeshita, Yuki Matsushita, Mi Sun Hur, Soichiro Ibaragi, R. Shane Tubbs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Since cone-beam computed tomography was developed, a number of radiological studies on the bifid mandibular canals (BMCs) and trifid mandibular canals (TMCs) have been reported. However, many of the suggested subtypes of the BMC described in the literature seem to be normal branches of the inferior alveolar nerve. This might be due to a lack of revisiting classic anatomical studies in the field of radiology. Therefore, such studies are revisited here. Methods: A database search using PubMed and Google Scholar was conducted on BMC and TMC. Eighty-nine articles underwent full-text assessment. The reported three classifications of BMC and the six modified classifications were reviewed and compared to the intramandibular inferior alveolar nerve branches. Results: Some subtypes of BMC and TMC simply represent normal inferior alveolar nerve branches, i.e., retromolar branch, molar branch (alveolar branch/dental branch), large mental branch, or communicating branch. Others such as Naitoh’s type III BMC and forward canal might be a true BMC. Conclusion: We found that the bifid mandibular canal is an additional intramandibular canal running parallel to the mandibular canal with/without confluence with the main canal through comparison of classifications of BMC/TMC between the radiology and anatomy fields.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSurgical and Radiologic Anatomy
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Bifid mandibular canal
  • Cone beam computed tomography
  • Dental branches
  • Mandibular canal
  • Retromolar canal
  • Terminology
  • Variations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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