Temporal Bone and Auditory Pathways
Today, the anatomy of the temporal bone can be evaluated in detail. Computed tomography (CT) is the method of choice to examine the external ear and middle ear. New CT devices that include helical scanning and multi-detector technology enable scanning of the temporal bone in detail. Once the images are obtained, they can be recalculated at slice thicknesses as low as 0.1 mm. On these very thin images, partial volume effects are no longer a problem and hence even very tiny structures can be seen. Moreover, excellent multi-planar reconstructions are also possible. Structures such as the branches and footplate of the stapes and the chorda tympani can now be reliably evaluated. Magnetic resonance (MR), especially T2-weighted gradient-echo (CISS) or turbo spin-echo (DRIVE, FSE, FIESTA), is used to study the inner ear. These approaches reveal the intra-labyrinthine fluid as well as the scala tympani and vestibuli separately inside the cochlea. Another advantage is that the facial nerve and the cochlear as well as the inferior and superior vestibular branches of the VIIIth cranial nerve can all be distinguished on these images.
KeywordsFacial Nerve Temporal Bone Auditory Pathway Internal Auditory Canal Oval Window
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