Objective: This study describes the application of a new radiographic imaging modality, phase-contrast radiography, to in vitro human temporal bone imaging and investigates its use in the development of new electrode arrays for cochlear implants.
Background: The development of perimodiolar electrode arrays for cochlear implants requires detailed information from postoperative radiologic assessment on the position of the array in relation to the cochlear structures. Current standard radiographic techniques provide only limited details.
Materials and methods: Nucleus standard electrode arrays and perimodiolar Contour electrode arrays were implanted into the scala tympani of 11 human temporal bones. Both conventional and phase-contrast radiographs were taken of each temporal bone for comparative purposes.
Results: Phase-contrast imaging provides better visualization of anatomic details of the inner ear and of the structure of the intracochlear electrode array, and better definition of electrode location in relation to cochlear walls.
Conclusion: Phase-contrast radiography offers significant improvement over conventional radiography in images of in vitro human temporal bones. It seems to be a valuable tool in the development of intracochlear electrode arrays and cochlear implant research. However, this new radiographic technique still requires certain computational and physics challenges to be addressed before its clinical use can be established.