CT evaluation of bone dehiscence of the superior semicircular canal as a cause of sound- and/or pressure-induced vertigo

Radiology. 2003 Feb;226(2):337-43. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2262010897.


Purpose: To describe the computed tomographic (CT) findings at different collimation widths associated with superior semicircular canal (SSC) dehiscence syndrome and to determine the frequency of these findings in a control population.

Materials and methods: Temporal bone CT scans with 1.0-mm and/or 0.5-mm collimation were obtained in 50 patients with sound- and/or pressure-induced vestibular symptoms. The control population consisted of 50 patients undergoing CT at 1.0-mm collimation and 57 patients undergoing CT at 0.5-mm collimation for other reasons.

Results: SSC dehiscence was documented on CT scans in all 36 patients with the clinical syndrome, with bilateral findings in six patients. Six other patients without specific clinical signs appeared to have dehiscence on 1.0-mm-collimated scans. Intact bone overlaying the SSC was subsequently identified with 0.5-mm-collimated CT in each case. On the 1.0-mm-collimated scans in 50 control patients, an area judged as possible or definite dehiscence was identified in 18 of 100 ears. The bone overlaying the SSC was intact in each of the 114 control ears evaluated with 0.5-mm-collimated CT. CT findings from the patients with vestibular symptoms combined with those in the control population indicated that the positive predictive value of an apparent dehiscence in the diagnosis of SSC dehiscence syndrome improved from 50% with 1.0-mm-collimated CT with transverse and coronal images to 93% with 0.5-mm-collimated CT with reformation in the plane of the SSC.

Conclusion: The positive predictive value of CT in identification of SSC dehiscence syndrome improves with 0.5-mm-collimated helical CT and reformation in the SSC plane.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Ear, Middle / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labyrinth Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Labyrinth Diseases / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pressure
  • Semicircular Canals / diagnostic imaging*
  • Semicircular Canals / physiopathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sound
  • Syndrome
  • Temporal Bone / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporal Bone / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Vertigo / diagnostic imaging
  • Vertigo / etiology*
  • Vertigo / physiopathology