To objectively evaluate the effects of maxillary lesions on the infraorbital nerve (ION).
We investigated the latencies (R1, R2) of the blink reflex, stimulating the infraorbital foramen electrically (18 mA, 0.2 millisecond). Twenty-two patients with unilateral maxillary lesions were enrolled.
Ten patients showed delayed or absent R1 on the lesion side. Four of 20 patients showed delayed difference in R2 latency. Ten (77%) of 13 patients with lesions along the ION pathway showed an abnormal blink reflex. Only 3 patients demonstrated a normal blink reflex despite a lesion along the pathway of the ION. All patients whose ION pathway was intact showed a normal blink reflex.
These results suggested that lesions along the ION pathway may impair the afferent pathway of the blink reflex. The blink reflex may be valuable to evaluate maxillary lesions objectively. Furthermore, R1 is more effective than R2 in detecting ION defects.