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Postoperative complications of ultrasound-guided inferior alveolar nerve and maxillary nerve blocks: a retrospective study

To the Editor,

Recent studies have reported that ultrasound-guided trigeminal nerve blocks are effective as a postoperative analgesic method in maxillofacial surgery [1,2,3,4]. These mainly include ultrasound-guided inferior alveolar nerve blocks (IANBs), also called mandibular nerve blocks, and ultrasound-guided maxillary nerve blocks (MNBs) [5]. These nerve blocks are not widely used, and there are no reports on their associated complications. Statistical analyses of the complications are important for demonstrating the safety of a technique to facilitate a prompt response to common complications. It is also necessary to provide patients with a clear explanation regarding the risks associated with the procedure that they will undergo to obtain informed patient consent. In this study, we retrospectively investigated the rate of complications in patients who underwent ultrasound-guided IANBs and MNBs at multiple institutions.

This retrospective cohort study was conducted and reported according to the STROBE checklist. All methods were performed according to the relevant guidelines and regulations. The study was conducted across three general hospitals in Japan. This study is registered in a publicly accessible database (UMIN Clinical Trials Registry ID: UMIN000045581). We collected the data of all patients who underwent ultrasound-guided IANBs and MNBs between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2021. Eligible patients were identified from a database of clinical records (Fig. 1). Ultrasound-guided IANBs and MNBs were performed using the extraoral approach before surgery. The local anesthesia (LA) used in all cases was ropivacaine.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Flow diagram of the study population. IANB ultrasound-guided inferior alveolar nerve block, MNB ultrasound-guided maxillary nerve block

The following items were considered as possible complications: LA toxicity, allergies, neuropathy, movement disorders, pain in the punctured area, infection, sensory deficits, and blood vessel damage. During the study period, 217 patients underwent ultrasound-guided IANBs and MNBs (Fig. 1). The number of patients who underwent ultrasound-guided IANBs (IANB group) was 164, and the total number of procedures was 282. The number of patients who underwent ultrasound-guided MNBs (MNB group) was 103 patients, and the total number of procedures was 167 (Tables 1 and 2). No complications were observed in both groups.

Table 1 Patient characteristics
Table 2 Nerve block characteristics

Since the ultrasound-guided approach can be performed while confirming the anatomical findings and checking the injection range, the occurrence of the aforementioned complications may be reduced. In addition, IANBs and MNBs are peripheral nerve blocks that are categorized as compartment nerve blocks. Therefore, we considered that they have a low risk of damage to the targeted nerves. To include rare complications, it is necessary to collect and analyze more data on IANBs and MNBs.



Local anesthetic


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs


Inferior alveolar nerve block


Maxillary nerve block


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YK, TM, NO, MA, and JH designed this research. YK, TM, NO, and KA analyzed the results. YK, TM, NO, KA, MA, and JH discussed the results. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yuki Kojima.

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The study was conducted at the Kagoshima University Hospital (approval number: 210003EKI), Asahi General Hospital (approval number: 2021072005), and Kagoshima City Hospital (approval number: 2021-08) in Japan. The Human Research and Ethics Committee of each hospital approved the study design. After receiving ethical approval at each hospital, the need for patient consent was waived due to the retrospective nature of the study (the Ethics Committee of Kagoshima University Hospital, the Ethics Committee of Asahi General Hospital, and the Ethics Committee of Kagoshima City Hospital).

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Kojima, Y., Murouchi, T., Okayama, N. et al. Postoperative complications of ultrasound-guided inferior alveolar nerve and maxillary nerve blocks: a retrospective study. JA Clin Rep 8, 42 (2022).

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