Fully automated preoperative segmentation of temporal bone structures from clinical CT scans

Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 8;11(1):116. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-80619-0.


Middle- and inner-ear surgery is a vital treatment option in hearing loss, infections, and tumors of the lateral skull base. Segmentation of otologic structures from computed tomography (CT) has many potential applications for improving surgical planning but can be an arduous and time-consuming task. We propose an end-to-end solution for the automated segmentation of temporal bone CT using convolutional neural networks (CNN). Using 150 manually segmented CT scans, a comparison of 3 CNN models (AH-Net, U-Net, ResNet) was conducted to compare Dice coefficient, Hausdorff distance, and speed of segmentation of the inner ear, ossicles, facial nerve and sigmoid sinus. Using AH-Net, the Dice coefficient was 0.91 for the inner ear; 0.85 for the ossicles; 0.75 for the facial nerve; and 0.86 for the sigmoid sinus. The average Hausdorff distance was 0.25, 0.21, 0.24 and 0.45 mm, respectively. Blinded experts assessed the accuracy of both techniques, and there was no statistical difference between the ratings for the two methods (p = 0.93). Objective and subjective assessment confirm good correlation between automated segmentation of otologic structures and manual segmentation performed by a specialist. This end-to-end automated segmentation pipeline can help to advance the systematic application of augmented reality, simulation, and automation in otologic procedures.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Automation / methods*
  • Ear, Inner / diagnostic imaging
  • Ear, Inner / surgery
  • Ear, Middle / diagnostic imaging
  • Ear, Middle / surgery
  • Facial Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Facial Nerve / surgery
  • Humans
  • Preoperative Period
  • Temporal Bone / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporal Bone / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*