Skip to main content

Evaluation of mental foramina in adult living crania with MDCT



Multi-detector Computed Tomography (MDCT) is an exquisite technique in demonstrating the cranial foramina. This study aimed to assess the anatomic variations and locations of mental foramina in living adult mandible by MDCT.


MDCT data of 100 dentulous adult subjects were collected from the high-resolution examinations that covered the mandible. Presence and number of foramina, their diameter and distance from the mid line that is mid sagittal plane and alveolar ridge were recorded.


Mental foramina was clearly identified, localized and characterized in all subjects. Duplication was observed in four patients. Among them, one subject had bilateral accessory foramina. Mid line distances were significantly higher in men than women. Distances and diameters of right foramina were insignificantly higher in the males. Also, left foramina was insignificantly wider in women. Positive correlations were noticed between the measurements of right and left foramina.


This is the first study on mental foramina in living mandible with MDCT. With its tremendous capabilities, MDCT may be established in anatomical studies and preoperative planning.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. Bou Serhal C, Jacobs R, Flygare L, Quirynen M, van Steenberghe D (2002) Perioperative validation of localisation of the mental foramen. Dentomaxillofac Radiol 31:39–43

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Cavalcanti MG, Haller JW, Vannier MW (1999) Three-dimensional computed tomography landmark measurement in craniofacial surgical planning: experimental validation in vitro. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 57:690–694

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Cavalcanti MG, Rocha SS, Vannier MW (2004) Craniofacial measurements based on 3D-CT volume rendering: implications for clinical applications. Dentomaxillofac Radiol 33:170–176

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Chung MS, Kim HJ, Kang HS, Chung IH (1995) Locational relationship of the supraorbital notch or foramen and infraorbital and mental foramina in Koreans. Acta Anat (Basel) 154:162–166

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Cutright B, Quillopa N, Schubert W (2003) An anthropometric analysis of the key foramina for maxillofacial surgery. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 61:354–357

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. De Freitas V, Madeira MC, Toledo Filho JL, Chagas CF (1979) Absence of the mental foramen in dry human mandibles. Acta Anat 104:353–355

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Gershenson H, Nathan H, Luchansky E (1986) Mental foramen and mental nerve: changes with age. Acta Anat 126:21–28

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Gray H (1918) Anatomy of the human body. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger. Available via of subordinate document. Accessed 20 May 2009

  9. Gruber W (1872) Bemerkungen über das Foramen mentale. Arch f Anat Physiol U Wiss Med 1872:738–745

    Google Scholar 

  10. Gupta T (2008) Localization of important facial foramina encountered in maxillo-facial surgery. Clin Anat 21:633–640

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Hanihara T, Ishida H (2001) Frequency variations of discrete cranial traits in major human populations. IV. Vessel and nerve related variations. J Anat 199:273–287

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Hu KS, Yun HS, Hur MS et al (2007) Branching patterns and intraosseous course of the mental nerve. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 65:2228–2294

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Igarashi C, Kobayashi K, Yamamoto A, Morita Y, Tanaka M (2004) Double mental foramina of the mandible on computed tomography images: a case report. Oral Radiol 20:68–71

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Jacobs R, Mraiwa N, Van Steenberghe D, Sanderink G, Quirynen M (2004) Appearance of the mandibular incisive canal on panoramic radiographs. Surg Radiol Anat 26:329–333

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Kieser J, Kuzmanovic D, Payne A, Dennison J, Herbison P (2002) Patterns of emergence of the human mental nerve. Arch Oral Biol 47:743–747

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Klinge B, Petersson A, Maly P (1989) Location of the mandibular canal: comparison of macroscopic findings, conventional radiography, and computed tomography. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 4:327–332

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Liang X, Jacobs R, Hassan B, Li L et al (2009) A comparative evaluation of Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) and Multi-Slice CT (MSCT) Part I. On subjective image quality. Eur J Radiol. doi:10.1016/j.ejrad.2009.04.016

  18. Metzger MC, Schön R, Tetzlaf R (2007) Topographical CT-data analysis of the human orbital floor. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 36:45–53

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Montagu MFA (1954) The direction and position of the mental foramen in the great apes and man. Am J Phys Anthropol 12:503–518

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Mwaniki DL, Hassanali J (1992) The position of mandibular and mental foramina in Kenyan African mandibles. East Afr Med J 69:210–213

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Naitoh M, Hiraiwa Y, Aimiya H, Gotoh K, Ariji E (2009) Accessory mental foramen assessment using cone-beam computed tomography. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 107:289–294

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Riesenfeld A (1956) Multiple infraorbital ethmoidal, and mental foramina in the races of man. Am J Phys Anthropol 14:85–100

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Rogalla P, Kloeters C, Hein PA (2009) CT technology overview: 64-slice and beyond. Radiol Clin North Am 47:1–11

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Neiva RF, Gapski R, Wang HL (2004) Morphometric analysis of implant-related anatomy in Caucasian skulls. J Periodontol 75:1061–1067

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Simonton FV (1923) Mental foramen in the anthropoids and in man. Am J Phys Anthropol 6:413–421

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Smajilagić A, Dilberović F (2004) Clinical and anatomy study of the human mental foramen. Bosn J Basic Med Sci 4:15–23

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Solar P, Ulm C, Frey G, Matejka M (1994) A classification of the intraosseous path of the mental nerve. Int J Oral Maxillolac Implants 9:339–344

    Google Scholar 

  28. Sonic M, Abrahams J, Faiella R (1994) A comparison of the accuracy of periapical, panoramic, and computerized tomographic radiographs in locating the mandibular canal. Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 9:455–460

    Google Scholar 

  29. Turhan-Haktanir N, Ayçiçek A, Haktanir A, Demir Y (2008) Variations of supraorbital foramina in living subjects evaluated with multidetector computed tomography. Head Neck 30:1211–1215

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Vannier MW, Marsh JL (1996) Three-dimensional imaging, surgical planning, and image-guided therapy. Radiol Clin North Am 34:545–563

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Waitzman AA, Posnick JC, Armstrong DC, Pron GE (1992) Craniofacial skeletal measurements based on computed tomography, Part 1: accuracy and reproducibility. Cleft Palate Craniofac J 29:112–117

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Waitzman AA, Posnick JC, Armstrong DC, Pron GE (1992) Craniofacial skeletal measurements based on computed tomography, Part 2: normal values and growth trends. Cleft Palate Craniofac J 29:118–128

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Yosue T, Brooks SL (1989) The appearance of mental foramina on panoramic and periapical radiographs. II. Experimental evaluation. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 68:488–492

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alpay Haktanır.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Haktanır, A., Ilgaz, K. & Turhan-Haktanır, N. Evaluation of mental foramina in adult living crania with MDCT. Surg Radiol Anat 32, 351–356 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Mental foramen
  • Imaging
  • Multi-detector computed tomography
  • Multiplanar reconstruction
  • Volume rendering