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01.12.2011 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2011

Inferior alveolar nerve injury with laryngeal mask airway: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2011
Deepak Hanumanthaiah, Sarmad Masud, Anil Ranganath
Wichtige Hinweise
An erratum to this article is available at http://​dx.​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​1752-1947-5-560.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

DH was responsible for writing the manuscript and for collecting and analyzing the references. SM was responsible for the follow-up of the case and was also a major contributor to writing the manuscript. AR was responsible for proofreading the manuscript and for revising it. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.



The incidence of damage to the individual cranial nerves and their branches associated with laryngeal mask airway use is low; there have been case reports of damage to the lingual nerve, hypoglossal nerve and recurrent laryngeal nerve. To the best of our knowledge we present the first reported case of inferior alveolar nerve injury associated with laryngeal mask airway use.

Case presentation

A 35-year-old Caucasian man presented to our facility for elective anterior cruciate ligament repair. He had no background history of any significant medical problems. He opted for general anesthesia over a regional technique. He was induced with fentanyl and propofol and a size 4 laryngeal mask airway was inserted without any problems. His head was in a neutral position during the surgery. After surgery in the recovery room, he complained of numbness in his lower lip. He also developed extensive scabbing of the lower lip on the second day after surgery. The numbness and scabbing started improving after a week, with complete recovery after two weeks.


We report the first case of vascular occlusion and injury to the inferior alveolar nerve, causing scabbing and numbness of the lower lip, resulting from laryngeal mask airway use. This is an original case report mostly of interest for anesthetists who use the laryngeal mask airway in day-to-day practice. Excessive inflation of the laryngeal mask airway cuff could have led to this complication. Despite the low incidence of cranial nerve injury associated with the use of the laryngeal mask airway, vigilant adherence to evidence-based medicine techniques and recommendations from the manufacturer's instructions can prevent such complications.

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