Mastoid cavity dimensions and shape: method of measurement and virtual fitting of implantable devices

Audiol Neurootol. 2009;14(5):308-14. doi: 10.1159/000212110. Epub 2009 Apr 15.


Temporal bone implants can be used to electrically stimulate the auditory nerve, to amplify sound, to deliver drugs to the inner ear and potentially for other future applications. The implants require storage space and access to the middle or inner ears. The most acceptable space is the cavity created by a canal wall up mastoidectomy. Detailed knowledge of the available space for implantation and pathways to access the middle and inner ears is necessary for the design of implants and successful implantation. Based on temporal bone CT scans a method for three-dimensional reconstruction of a virtual canal wall up mastoidectomy space is described. Using Amira software the area to be removed during such surgery is marked on axial CT slices, and a three-dimensional model of that space is created. The average volume of 31 reconstructed models is 12.6 cm(3) with standard deviation of 3.69 cm(3), ranging from 7.97 to 23.25 cm(3). Critical distances were measured directly from the model and their averages were calculated: height 3.69 cm, depth 2.43 cm, length above the external auditory canal (EAC) 4.45 cm and length posterior to EAC 3.16 cm. These linear measurements did not correlate well with volume measurements. The shape of the models was variable to a significant extent making the prediction of successful implantation for a given design based on linear and volumetric measurement unreliable. Hence, to assure successful implantation, preoperative assessment should include a virtual fitting of an implant into the intended storage space. The above-mentioned three-dimensional models were exported from Amira to a Solidworks application where virtual fitting was performed. Our results are compared to other temporal bone implant virtual fitting studies. Virtual fitting has been suggested for other human applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cochlear Implants*
  • Hearing Loss / surgery
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Infusion Pumps, Implantable*
  • Labyrinth Diseases / surgery
  • Mastoid* / anatomy & histology
  • Mastoid* / diagnostic imaging
  • Mastoid* / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Preoperative Care
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Young Adult