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Laryngoscope. 2014 Mar;124(3):596-601. doi: 10.1002/lary.24316. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Three-dimensional sinus imaging as an adjunct to two-dimensional imaging to accelerate education and improve spatial orientation.

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Bobby R. Alford Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.



Develop a novel three-dimensional (3-D) anatomical model to assist in improving spatial knowledge of the skull base, paranasal sinuses, and adjacent structures, and validate the utilization of 3-D reconstruction to augment two-dimensional (2-D) computed tomography (CT) for the training of medical students and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery residents.


Prospective study.


A study of 18 subjects studying sinus anatomy was conducted at a tertiary academic center during the 2011 to 2012 academic year. An image processing and 3-D modeling program was used to create a color coded 3-D scalable/layerable/rotatable model of key paranasal and skull base structures from a 2-D high-resolution sinus CT scan. Subjects received instruction of the sinus anatomy in two sessions, first through review of a 2-D CT sinus scan, followed by an educational module of the 3-D reconstruction. After each session, subjects rated their knowledge of the sinus and adjacent structures on a self-assessment questionnaire.


Significant improvement in the perceived understanding of the anatomy was noted after the 3-D educational module session when compared to the 2-D CT session alone (P < .01). Every subject believed the addition of 3-D imaging accelerated their education of sinus anatomy and recommended its use to others.


The impression of the learners was that a 3-D educational module, highlighting key structures, is a highly effective tool to enhance the education of medical students and otolaryngology residents in sinus and skull base anatomy and its adjacent structures, specifically in conceptualizing the spatial orientation of these structures.


3-D imaging; Education; allergy/rhinology; skull base anatomy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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