In recent years, 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 of various organ systems. 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. The use of submillimeter two-dimensional reconstruction from CT data in addition to 3D reformation allows depiction of microanatomic structures such as the osseous spiral lamina and hamulus. Furthermore, 3D VR CT images can be used to evaluate various conditions of the temporal bone, including congenital malformations, vascular anomalies, inflammatory or neoplastic conditions, and trauma. 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.
(c) RSNA, 2006.