Objective: To evaluate the efficiency of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and high-resolution computed tomographic (CT) scan coregistration in predicting and adequately locating primary or recurrent cholesteatoma in children.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: Tertiary care university hospital.
Patients: Ten patients aged 2 to 17 years (mean age, 8.5 years) with cholesteatoma of the middle ear, some of which were previously treated, were included for follow-up with systematic CT scanning and MRI between 2007 and 2008.
Interventions: Computed tomographic scanning was performed on a Siemens Somaton 128 (0.5/0.2-mm slices reformatted in 0.5/0.3-mm images). Fine cuts were obtained parallel and perpendicular to the lateral semicircular canal in each ear (100 × 100-mm field of view). Magnetic resonance imaging was undertaken on a Siemens Avanto 1.5T unit, with a protocol adapted for young children. Diffusion-weighted imaging was acquired using a single-shot turbo spin-echo mode. To allow for diagnosis and localization of the cholesteatoma, CT and diffusion-weighted MRIs were fused for each case.
Results: In 10 children, fusion technique allowed for correct diagnosis and precise localization (hypotympanum, epitympanum, mastoid recess, and attical space) as confirmed by subsequent standard surgery (positive predictive value, 100%). In 3 cases, the surgical approach was adequately determined from the fusion results. Lesion sizes on the CT-MRI fusion corresponded with perioperative findings.
Conclusions: Recent developments in imaging techniques have made diffusion-weighted MRI more effective for detecting recurrent cholesteatoma. The major drawback of this technique, however, has been its poor anatomical and spatial discrimination. Fusion imaging using high-resolution CT and diffusion-weighted MRI appears to be a promising technique for both the diagnosis and precise localization of cholesteatomas. It provides useful information for surgical planning and, furthermore, is easy to use in pediatric cases.