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Semicircular canal dehiscence in HR multislice computed tomography: distribution, frequency, and clinical relevance


The literature about bony defects in the semicircular canal system is highly inconsistent. Therefore, we analyzed a series of 700 high-resolution multislice CT examinations of the temporal bone for semicircular canal dehiscencies. An unselected group of ENT patients with different clinical symptoms and variable age was chosen. We found semicircular canal dehiscence in 9.6% of temporal bones, superior semicircular canal was affected mostly (8%), less common posterior semicircular canal (1.2%); only in 3 cases (0.4%), lateral semicircular canal showed dehiscence. In 60% of SSC dehiscence, we registered bilateral manifestation. The so-called “third mobile window” in semicircular canal dehiscence causes a great variety of clinical symptoms like vertigo, nystagmus, oscillopsies, hearing loss, tinnitus and autophonia. Comparison with anatomic studies shows that CT examination implies the risk of considerable overestimation; this fact emphasizes the important role of clinical and neurophysiological testing.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest that influence their actions. The authors have no financial relationship to other organizations with effects on their work. There was no external sponsoring.

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Correspondence to H. Stimmer.

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Stimmer, H., Hamann, K.F., Zeiter, S. et al. Semicircular canal dehiscence in HR multislice computed tomography: distribution, frequency, and clinical relevance. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 269, 475–480 (2012).

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