Analysis of the blood supply to the post-fracture edentulous mandible: study by colour Doppler sonography
In this study we evaluated the role of Doppler sonography in the assessment of central mandibular blood flow. We assessed the characteristics of blood flow in the mental artery, the larger terminal branch of the inferior alveolar artery, in 30 healthy volunteers equally distributed in the age groups 20-39, 40-59 and over 60 years. We used a DWL Multi-Dop X4(R) Doppler sonography machine (DWL GmbH) with an 8 MHz probe applied intraorally. The variables analysed were patency, time averaged maximum velocity (TAMV), pulsatility index (PI), discomfort and the duration of the procedure. All the arteries analysed were patent. The TAMV and PI decreased as age increased and there were significant differences between the age groups: TAMV (P = 0.01), PI (P = 0.006). Pair-wise comparisons also showed significant differences (P< 0.05) between the 20-39 and the over 60 age group, 40-59 and the over 60 age group for TAMV, and between the 20-39 and over 60 age group for PI. The difference in measurements between the right and left sides in individual patients was not significant. The assessment took about 20 minutes and caused little discomfort. The technique is simple and could potentially be used to influence clinical decisions.