SUMMARY: The lingula of the mandible is a bone projection that limits medially the mandibular foramen, which is the region where the inferior alveolar neurovascular bundle penetrates. The lingula is an important anatomical landmark used in maxillofacial surgeries and to block the inferior alveolar nerve. The aim of this study was to analyze the different types of lingula found in mandibles of Brazilian individuals, considering aspects such as gender and race. One hundred thirty-two macerated mandibles of Brazilian adult individuals of both sexes, black and white skin colors, were used. The lingula was classified into four types: triangular, truncated, nodular and assimilated. The data were analyzed using Chi-square test and Fisher's exact test. The truncated shape was the most commonly found (49 %), followed by nodular (26.5 %) and triangular (23.3 %) shapes. The assimilated shape was significantly less prevalent with 1.2 %. Each type of the lingula was more often bilateral rather than unilateral. Considering skin color we observed that the truncated shape was more prevalent in black individuals than in white individuals and the nodular shape was more prevalent in white individuals than in black individuals. There was no case of assimilated shape in black individuals. Considering gender we observed that the truncated shape was more prevalent in females than in males and the triangular shape was more prevalent in males than in females. The lingula shape showed no side preference. Our findings facilitate the planning of oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures that involve the lingula and/or the inferior alveolar neurovascular bundle, avoiding operative complications.
KEY WORDS: Anatomy; Lingula; Mandible; Inferior alveolar nerve.