Congenital malformations of the external and middle ear

Eur J Radiol. 2009 Feb;69(2):269-79. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2007.10.019. Epub 2007 Dec 3.


With the focus on imaging, this paper gives a summarized view of the present knowledge on fields, which are necessary to know for a profound understanding of congenital malformations of the external and middle ear. Typical and less typical combinations of malformed parts of the ear can be derived from the embryogenesis. Clinical signs and audiometric findings lead to diagnosis in congenital aural atresia. Isolated middle ear malformations can be clinically mixed up especially with otosclerosis and tympanosclerosis. Imaging is needed for exact morphological information. In malformations of the external and middle ear, CT is the imaging modality of choice. Requirements on CT-technique as well as radiological findings including classification and pre-surgical rating are described. Morphological CT-correlates of congenital malformations and their differential diagnoses are enlisted and illustrated. The impact of CT-results on therapy is explained and actual therapeutic concepts are briefly presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ear, External / abnormalities*
  • Ear, External / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ear, Middle / abnormalities*
  • Ear, Middle / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*