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December 1963

Syndrome of the Numb Chin

Author Affiliations

Chief, Neurology Service (Capt Calverley); Chairman, Department of Oral Surgery (Col Mohnac).; From the Wilford Hall USAF Hospital, Aerospace Medical Division (AFSC), Lackland Air Force Base, Tex.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(6):819-821. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860060057003

Many neurological symptoms are recognized as ominous indications that a patient may have distant spread of a malignant tumor. Collapse of a vertebral body with subsequent spinal cord compression is a dramatic but discouragingly common example of the numerous neurologic syndromes often associated with systemic malignancy. It is our purpose to show that a seemingly innocuous symptom, such as numbness of the chin and lower lip, may also be ominous and may not only indicate metastasis to the lower jaw but may be the first manifestation of such a malignancy.

Report of Cases 

Case 1.  —A 41-year-old man noted paresthesias and decreased sensation in the right side of his chin and lower lip April, 1961. Shortly thereafter he developed pain in the right mandible in the region of the cuspid and incisor teeth. Because of severe gingival disease, the right lower bicuspid and cuspid teeth were extracted, but this altered