Atlas-based segmentation of temporal bone surface structures

  • Kimerly A. PowellEmail author
  • Tanisha Kashikar
  • Brad Hittle
  • Don Stredney
  • Thomas Kerwin
  • Gregory J. Wiet
Original Article



To develop a time-efficient automated segmentation approach that could identify surface structures on the temporal bone for use in surgical simulation software and preoperative surgical training.


An atlas-based segmentation approach was developed to segment the tegmen, sigmoid sulcus, exterior auditory canal, interior auditory canal, and posterior canal wall in normal temporal bone CT images. This approach was tested in images of 20 cadaver bones (10 left, 10 right). The results of the automated segmentation were compared to manual segmentation using quantitative metrics of similarity, Mahalanobis distance, average Hausdorff distance, and volume similarity.


The Mahalanobis distance was less than 0.232 mm for all structures. The average Hausdorff distance was less than 0.464 mm for all structures except the posterior canal wall and external auditory canal for the right bones. Volume similarity was 0.80 or greater for all structures except the sigmoid sulcus that was 0.75 for both left and right bones. Visually, the segmented structures were accurate and similar to that manually traced by an expert observer.


An atlas-based approach using a deformable registration of a Gaussian-smoothed temporal bone image and refinements using surface landmarks was successful in segmenting surface structures of temporal bone anatomy for use in pre-surgical planning and training.


Atlas-based segmentation Image registration Surgical simulation Pre-surgical planning Temporal bone anatomy 



This research was supported by NIDCD/NIH 1R01-DC011321 and by funding from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ohio State University Institutional Review Board and have been performed in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


This study was funded by NIDCD/NIH 1R01-DC011321.


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Copyright information

© CARS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical InformaticsThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Ohio University Heritage College of OsteopathicOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  3. 3.Interface LaboratoryThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Department of OtolaryngologyNationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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