Nerve Lateralization

Nerve lateralization, also known as nerve repositioning or nerve transpositioning, is a surgical procedure whereby the course of the inferior alveolar nerve is redirected to allow the placement of longer implants in a mandible with extensive resorption of the posterior ridge. Nerve repositioning requires a portion of the lower jaw be opened to provide access to the nerve. To close this access, a bone graft is required following the placement of the implants. Nerve lateralization is considered a more aggressive procedure in implant surgery as the nerve can sustain long-term or even permanent damage. The inferior alveolar nerve provides feeling and sensation to the lower jaw, lip, and chin and most patients experience varying degrees of numbness following the surgery. Since there are other options for implant placements, such as blade implants, nerve repositioning surgery is generally not the first choice when dealing with patients with extensive posterior ridge resorption.