The retromolar canal is an anatomical variation that occurs in the mandibular bone. The retromolar canal typically originates in the mandibular canal on the distal side of the third molar and extends forward and upward to the retromolar foramen (RMF), which contains the neurovascular bundle. Accidentally damaging the neurovascular bundle in the retromolar canal during the extraction of the third molar, dental implant surgery, or maxillofacial orthognathic surgery may lead to subsequent complications such as incomplete local anesthesia, paresthesia, and bleeding during operation. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of the RMF in the Taiwanese population in a medical center by using dental cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) and to identify the position of the RMF in the mandibular bone. The dental CBCT images for the mandibular bone of 68 hemi-mandible were uploaded to the medical imaging software Mimics 15.1 to determine the prevalence of the RMF in the Taiwanese population and the three positional parameters of the RMF in the mandibular bone: (1) The diameter of the RMF, (2) the horizontal distance from the midpoint of the RMF to the distal cementoenamel junction of the second molar, and (3) the vertical distance from the midpoint of the RMF to the upper border of the mandibular canal. Seven RMFs were observed in the 68 hemi-mandibles. Thus, the RMF prevalence was 10.3%. In addition, the diameter of the RMF was 1.41 ± 0.30 mm (mean ± standard deviation), the horizontal distance from the midpoint of the RMF to the distal cementoenamel junction of the the second molar was 12.93 ± 2.87 mm, and the vertical distance from the midpoint of the RMF to the upper border of the mandibular canal below second molar was 13.62 ± 1.3487 mm. This study determined the prevalence of the RMF in the Taiwanese population in a medical center and its relative position in the mandibular bone. This information can provide clinicians with a reference for posterior mandible anesthesia and surgery to ensure medical safety.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited