Does the Levasseur-Merrill Retractor Provide Reliable In Vivo Guidance for the Intraoral Vertical Ramus Osteotomy?

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Levasseur-Merrill retractor (LMR) utilization during the intraoral vertical ramus osteotomy (IVRO) helps initiate the osteotomy approximately 7 mm from the posterior border of the mandible, preventing damage to the inferior alveolar nerve. The purpose of this in vivo study is to evaluate the IVRO placement and the risk of neurosensory deficit (NSD) while using the LMR. Methods: This prospective case series was conducted at a single tertiary care center. Medical records were reviewed for medical and demographic information. Inclusion criteria were as follows: underwent the IVRO procedure by a single provider from June 2020 to June 2022 and postoperative cone beam computed tomography images. Exclusion criteria were as follows: age less than 16 years, previous mandibular osteotomies, inadequate clinical documentation, or follow-up. The primary outcome variables included the proximal segment width and proximity of the IVRO to the inferior alveolar foramen. The secondary outcome variable was NSD as measured subjectively by 2-point discrimination, sharp versus dull touch, and light touch with von Frey filaments. Results: The 26 subjects (42 operated sides) were 96% female, with an average age of 30.1 years (range 17-54 years). The mean proximal segment width was 10.3 ± 1.7 mm (95% confidence interval: 9.77, 10.83). The mean distance from the posterior border of the inferior alveolar foramen (IAF) to the osteotomy was –0.89 ± 1.7 mm (95% confidence interval: −1.43, −0.35), with negative numbers indicating violation of the IAF. IAF and full bony canal violation occurred in 61.9% and 4.8% of operated sides, respectively. NSD at 6 months postoperatively occurred in the 2 sides that experienced full bony canal violation. Conclusions: The LMR did not consistently guide the IVRO position within 7 mm from the posterior border of the mandible as previously thought and allows for frequent violation of the IAF. Long-term NSD of the inferior alveolar nerve was infrequent and correlated with violation of the full bony canal.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Loh LHJ; Sesanto RL; Catlin KA; Oster RA; Louis PJ
  • Start Page

  • 1740
  • End Page

  • 1746
  • Volume

  • 80
  • Issue

  • 11