, Volume 264, Issue 4, pp 345-351
Date: 18 Oct 2006

Rotational tomography of the normal and reconstructed middle ear in temporal bones: an experimental study

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Imaging is an essential diagnostic tool in reconstructive middle ear surgery, especially in pre-operative planning. Due to ongoing improvement of imaging quality and development of new imaging techniques like e.g. rotational tomography (RT) post-operative follow-up and immediate evaluation of surgical results may become more important. The aim of this experimental study was to evaluate RT as a new tool for postoperative determination of middle ear anatomy and implant position in temporal bones. RT was performed in ten temporal bone specimen after insertion of different middle ear prostheses concerning material, shape and length (PORP; TORP; Stapes piston). An implantable hearing device (Symphonix Soundbridge®) was also implanted and visualized. For comparison some specimen additionally underwent conventional computed tomography (CT), including the newest technology. Characterization of anatomical structures of the temporal bone using RT was of comparable quality to conventional CT-scans in all investigated specimen while requiring approximately 30% of the CT’s irradiation exposure. Unlike CT the RT showed almost no problems due to metallic artefacts of the implanted prostheses. Furthermore RT enabled a 3-dimensional view of the temporal bone and angle determination of inserted prostheses towards the tympanic membrane and/or the malleus handle. Detailed imaging of the prostheses allowed determination of shape, material and localization within the specimen’s reconstructed middle ear. The new imaging technique of RT allows precise presentation of anatomical structures and middle ear implants in temporal bones. Following these experimental results it will be our future work to evaluate this method in clinical practise.