Objective: To evaluate the value of half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo-spin-echo diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (HASTE DW MRI) using a 3-Tesla (3T) unit in the diagnosis of primary and relapsing cholesteatoma.
Study design: Retrospective observational investigation.
Setting: Tertiary referral center.
Patients: Seventeen patients suspected of having a primary cholesteatoma without clear clinical evidence of the lesion, and 13 patients who were candidates to a second-stage tympanoplasty to rule out a relapsing cholesteatoma or reconstruct the ossicular chain were investigated.
Intervention: All patients were scanned in a 3T scanner with a 4-channel head coil using T2 HASTE DW MRI technique sequences in axial and coronal planes covering the middle ear and mastoid regions.
Main outcome measure: Images were considered positive for cholesteatoma in the presence of a hyperintense, patchy-like lesion in the petrous bone.
Results: Images showed a high signal intensity suggestive of primary cholesteatoma in 10 of 17 patients and of relapsing cholesteatoma in 7 of 13 patients. Of the 17 subjects, 15 with positive MRI findings were operated on, and the presence of cholesteatoma (ranging from 2 to 20 mm in size) was confirmed at surgery. Of the 13 subjects shown to be negative on HASTE DW MRI for cholesteatoma, 11 were operated on and were all confirmed to be cholesteatoma-free.
Conclusion: Half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo-spin-echo diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging technique, using a 3T unit, may be a diagnostic tool for a rapid and highly reliable discrimination between cholesteatomatous and noncholesteatomatous tissue in the middle ear, with 100% of positive and negative predictive values.