Hypothesis: Improved resolution available with 64-slice multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) could potentially be used clinically to localize the cochlear implant (CI) electrode array within the basal turn.
Background: In CI surgery, the electrode array should be inserted into and remain within the scala tympani to avoid injury to Reissner's membrane and the scala media. Correlating the position of the electrode in the basal turn with surgical technique and implant design could be helpful in improving outcomes.
Methods: After a standard left mastoid exposure of the round window niche through the facial recess performed on a cadaver head, an electrode array from a Nucleus Softip Contour CI was fully inserted through a cochleostomy. The head was then scanned axially on a 64-slice MDCT with 0.4-mm slice thickness and reconstructed into the oblique axial, oblique coronal, and oblique sagittal planes of the cochlea. The temporal bone was then harvested and imaged on a microcomputed tomographic scanner using 20-microm slice thickness. Identical reconstructions were made and compared with the 64-slice images to confirm exact location of the electrode array.
Results: The 64-slice MDCT accurately localized the electrode array to the scala tympani. This was best demonstrated in the oblique sagittal plane, identifying the electrode array in the posterior inferior portion of the basal turn, posterior to the spiral lamina.
Conclusion: This ex vivo validation study suggests that 64-slice MDCT has the potential to allow accurate localization of the CI electrode array within the basal turn of the cochlea.