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Volume 24 , Issue 5
September/October 2009

Pages 859–865

Microstructural and Ultrastructural Assessment of Inferior Alveolar Nerve Damage Following Nerve Lateralization and Implant Placement: An Experimental Study in Rabbits

Marcelo Yoshimoto, DDS, MSc, PhD/Il-sei Watanabe, DDS, PhD/Marília T. Martins, DDS, PhD/Marcos B. Salles, DDS, MSc, PhD/Gary R. Ten Eyck, PhD/Paulo G. Coelho, DDS, PhD

PMID: 19865626

Purpose: The present study assessed damage to the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) following nerve lateralization and implant placement surgery through optical and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Materials and Methods: IAN lateralization was performed in 16 adult female rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). During the nerve lateralization procedure, one implant was placed through the mandibular canal, and the IAN was replaced in direct contact with the implant. The implant was placed in the right mandible, and the left side was used as a control (no surgical procedure). After 8 weeks, the animals were sacrificed and samples were prepared for optical and TEM analysis of IAN structural damage. Histomorphometric analysis was performed to determine the number and cross-sectional dimensions of nerve fascicles and myelin sheath thickness between experimental and control groups. The different parameters were compared by one-way analysis of variance at the 95% significance level. Results: Alterations in the perineural and endoneural regions of the IAN, with higher degrees of vascularization, were observed in the experimental group. TEM showed that the majority of the myelinated nerve fibers were not affected in the experimental samples. No significant variation in the number of fascicles was observed, significantly larger fascicle height and width were observed in the control group, and significantly thicker myelin sheaths were observed in the experimental samples. Conclusion: IAN lateralization resulted in substantial degrees of tissue disorganization at the microstructural level because of the presence of edema. However, at the ultrastructural level, small amounts of fiber degeneration were observed. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 2009;24:859–865

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