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ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2006;68(5):302-10. Epub 2006 Jul 4.

An approach for precise three-dimensional modeling of the human inner ear.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Eye and ENT Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.


For further morphological and physiological research, it is vital to establish precise three-dimensional models of the whole inner ear including the details of the membranous components. With the system of a projector and a high-resolution digital camera, 2 complete serial unstained celloidin sections of fresh human temporal bones were digitized as high-resolution images which were then sorted, calibrated, aligned and segmented using the 3D-Doctor software. Finally, 2 precise three-dimensional models of the inner ear were generated by simple surface rendering. The contours of tiny structures such as the crista ampullaris, the macula utriculi and the macula sacculi could be observed clearly. Our study suggests that it is technically feasible to employ complete serial unstained celloidin sections for precise three-dimensional reconstruction and that this helps reduce errors and laboratory workload. Moreover, the use of a high-resolution digital camera and the autoalignment function of 3D-Doctor further increase the accuracy of the models.

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