Posttraumatic midface pain clinical significance of the anterior superior alveolar nerve and canalis sinuosus

Jonathon Bryce Olenczak, Helen G. Hui-Chou, Demetrio J. Aguila, Catherine Anne Shaeffer, Arnold Lee Dellon, Paul N. Manson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Posttraumatic midface pain secondary to injury of the anterior superior alveolar nerve (ASAN) is characterized as pain localized to the central and lateral incisors, canines, and maxilla. This nerve is susceptible to injury and subsequent formation of neuromas after midface trauma. Surgical intervention requires an accurate and precise understanding of the course of the ASAN. Methods: Dissections of 12 human cadaver heads were conducted to identify the course of the ASAN through the canalis sinuosus (CS). Fifty 1-mm slice face computed tomographic scans were evaluated to document the dimensions and course of the CS. Results: The ASAN branched laterally from the infraorbital nerve before reaching the infraorbital rim in all cadavers. The bifurcation occurred 18 mm posterior to the infraorbital rim (range, 10Y30 mm). At a point 25 mm inferior to the infraorbital rim, the ASAN is found 3.4 mm lateral to the piriform aperture (range, 3Y4 mm). Radiographic analysis demonstrated a 12.9-mm horizontal length of the CS across the anterior maxilla (SD, 2.2 mm), a distance of 4.8 mm between the piriform aperture and the CS (SD, 1.2 mm), and 11.7 mm vertical length of the CS along the piriform aperture (SD, 3.0 mm). Conclusions: The ASAN maintains consistent coordinates at specific points along its course through the midface. An improved understanding of the course of the ASAN will guide future diagnosis of injury to this nerve and surgical intervention for patients with posttraumatic midface pain secondary to ASAN injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-547
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Anterior superior alveolar nerve
  • Canalis sinuosus
  • Face pain
  • Facial fracture
  • Facial pain
  • Incisor pain
  • Maxilla fracture
  • Maxilla pain
  • Maxillary pain
  • Midface pain
  • Superior alveolar nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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