Unilateral Mental Neuropathy and Enlargement of Inferior Alveolar Nerve Canal Associated with B-cell Lymphoma: Case Report and Literature Review

Jose A. De La Guerra

De La Guerra, Jose A., Kufta, Kenneth
Faculty / Advisor: Panchal, Neeraj
University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery/Pharmacology


The purpose of this study was to review common conditions associated with inferior alveolar nerve canal widening with or without the presence of mental neuropathy. Additionally, a case is presented in which a patient, reporting mental neuropathy, presented with IANC enlargement and was ultimately diagnosed with a low-grade B-cell lymphoma.


For the literature review, specialized databases including Google Scholar, PubMed, PubMed Central, and Science Direct, as well as general search engines, were used to find relevant studies by using the following keywords: “inferior alveolar nerve canal,” “mandibular canal,” “alveolar canal,” “widening,” “enlargement,” “expansion,” “hypertrophy,” “hypertrophic,” “mental neuropathy,” and “numb chin syndrome.”


In total, over 100 articles were found, out of which 80 were broadly related to the topic. 50 articles that were more closely related to the topic at hand were ultimately included. After compiling the information, the following lesions were found to have a relationship with inferior alveolar canal enlargement with or without mental neuropathy: non-Hodgkin lymphoma, osteosarcoma, neuromas of benign or malignant etiology, vascular malformation or hemangioma, multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes, and perineural invasion.


When clinicians encounter a lesion associated with inferior alveolar nerve canal enlargement, they should consider this differential diagnosis, suspecting malignancy especially when associated with mental neuropathy. Because of the possibility for malignancy, doing so will help medical and dental professionals provide patients with the appropriate care sooner, leading to better health outcomes.