Background: Lingula is a bony projection on the medial surface of the mandibular ramus. It isclosely related to the mandibular foramen and inferior alveolar nerve and it serves as a very important bony landmark in oral, maxillofacial surgeries and inferior alveolar nerve blocks and for excision of nerve in facial neuralgia.
Aim: To study the shape, height & position of the lingula in relation to the mandible.
Materials and methods: 65 human dry mandibles of South Indian origin were used for the study. Variations in the shape of the lingula were noted and classified. Vernier caliper was used to obtain the measurements of the lingula and the data collected was analysed statistically.
Results: Lingula was truncated in shape in 33.84%, triangular in 29.23%, nodular 19.23% and assimilated in 17.70% of the mandibles. The mean height of the lingula was 7.41 ± 2.23 mm. The lingula was located at a mean distance of 21.3 ± 4.12 mm and 19.6 ± 3.30 mm from the anterior and posterior borders of the mandibular ramus. The mean distance between the mandibular notch and the tip of the lingula was 18.6 ± 3.71mm. The mean distance from lingula to the second molar and the base of the mandible were 34.6 ± 5.14 mm and 36.1 ± 4.12 mm respectively. The bilingular distance ( It is the distance between the tips of both the lingula ) was 77.7 ± 4.75 mm.
Conclusions: Lingula is a reliable landmark to locate the mandibular foramen in osteotomies; hence the knowledge of the anatomy of the lingula is important for the maxillo-facial surgeons to perform the surgeries safely and to avoid complications.
lingula, dry adult mandibles, south Indian population, morphometry and morphology