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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 3 (2012), Issue 1, Pages 87-104
Research Article

Oblique High Resolution Tomography: The Ideal Plane for Visualization of the Gonial Section of the Mandibular Canal and its Related Structures?

Heinz-Theo Lübbers,1 Astrid L. Kruse,1 Joachim A. Obwegeser,1 and Gerold Eyrich2

1Clinic for Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
2Private Practice for Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, Lachen, Switzerland

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


A new radiologic technique is introduced in this paper for reducing the risk of nerve damage as a result of surgical removal of the mandibular third molar (wisdom tooth). The gonial part of the mandibular canal is obliquely scanned with tomograms on a plane parallel to this part of the mandibular canal. This procedure can be performed with the patient either prone or supine. The scans obtained cover a much longer section of the canal than the axial or coronal plane. Therefore, the scan provides more precise information on the spatial relationship between the mandibular canal and the surrounding structures with fewer images and, therefore, a lower radiation dose. Through such oblique plane scanning, metal artifacts from dental restorations do not impair visualization of the mandibular canal. Clinical cases demonstrating the advantages of this new technique are presented.