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Acta Radiol. 2007 Mar;48(2):207-12.

Limited cone-beam computed tomography imaging of the middle ear: a comparison with multislice helical computed tomography.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.



To determine the applicability of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) in otological imaging, and to compare its accuracy with the routinely used multislice helical CT (MSCT) for imaging of the middle- and inner-ear areas.


Thirteen unoperated human cadaver temporal bones were imaged with CBCT and MSCT. Sixteen landmarks of the middle and adjacent inner ear were evaluated and compared for their conspicuity according to a modified Likert scale. Total scores and scores for subgroups including landmarks of specific clinical interest were also compared.


No significant differences were found between the imaging techniques or subgroups when scores of individual structures were compared. While the middle ear itself was visible in all cases with CBCT, parts of the inner ear were "cut off" in four cases due to the limited field of view. For the same reason, the evaluation of the whole mastoid was not possible with CBCT. The cochlear and vestibular aqueducts were not visualized in either CT techniques. The contrast-to-noise ratio was more than 50% lower in CBCT than in MSCT, but still adequate for diagnostic task.


CBCT proved to be at least as accurate as routinely used MSCT in revealing the clinically and surgically important middle-ear structures. The results show that high-quality imaging of the middle ear is possible with the current CBCT device.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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