Recovery of Impaired Somatosensory Evoked Fields after Improvement of Tongue Sensory Deficits with Neurosurgical Reconstruction

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Somatosensory evoked fields (SEFs) induced by tongue stimulation can be useful as an objective parameter to assess sensory disturbances in the tongue. However, whether tongue SEFs can be useful as a clinical, objective follow-up assessment method of tongue sensation following oral surgery is unknown. Here we describe two cases in which tongue SEFs were successfully used in clinical assessment. Two patients with unilateral tongue sensory deficits caused by lingual nerve injury during lower third molar extraction were recruited. Both patients underwent surgery to repair the damaged nerve, and all tongue sensory evaluations were made once before and once after surgery. SEFs were recorded by stimulating the affected and unaffected sides of the tongue separately, and cortical activity was evaluated over the contralateral hemisphere. The unilaterality of the deficit was also assessed. In both patients, stimulation of the unaffected side evoked reproducible cortical responses pre- and post-surgery. Both patients also recovered some sensation following surgery, as pre-surgery stimulation of the affected side failed to evoke cortical activity, whereas post-surgery stimulation evoked cortical activity on both sides. Sensation was initially highly lateralized in both patients, but was restored to approximately normal in the post-surgery evaluation. Finally, both patients' rated their subjective tongue sensations on the affected side over 50% better after the surgical intervention. These cases indicate that tongue SEFs may have a clinical use as an objective parameter for assessing the course of tongue sensory recovery.


  • Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

    Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 2016-07



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