The temporal bone houses the middle ear, including the ossicles; the inner ear, which consists of the cochlea, vestibule, and semicircular canals; the bony canals for the facial and vestibulocochlear nerves; and the related vasculature and muscles.
Recent developments in software technology have made it possible to rapidly generate 3D volumes from conventional 2D data. These volume-rendered (VR) images can be sectioned in any plane and rotated in space, allowing 3D insight into the anatomy of the temporal bone
The three-dimensional (3D) multiplanar reformatted images from conventional cross-sectional computed tomographic (CT) data have been increasingly used to better demonstrate the anatomy and pathologic conditions middle ear and inner ear structures in minute details.
Three-dimensional volume-rendered (VR) CT images can aid in understanding the temporal bone, a region of complex anatomy containing multiple small structures within a relatively compact area, which makes evaluation of this region difficult.
These images can be rotated in space and dissected in any plane, allowing assessment of the morphologic features of individual structures, including the small ossicles of the middle ear and the intricate components of the inner ear.
Furthermore, 3D VR CT images can be used to evaluate various conditions of the temporal bone,
1- Congenital malformations,
2- Vascular anomalies, like n aberrant internal carotid artery (ICA)
3- Inflammatory lesions- Cholesteatomas
4- Neoplastic conditions,
5- Trauma like fractures of the temporal bone
The additional information provided by 3D reformatted images allows a better understanding of temporal bone anatomy and improves the ability to evaluate related disease, thereby helping to optimize surgical planning.
(pictures courtesy of Mrs Preetha and Regi, Dept of Radiology, SUT Hospital, Trivandrum)