[Computed tomography and magnetic resonance tomography of the normal temporal bone].Radiologe. 2003 Mar; 43(3):200-6.R
The normal anatomy of the temporal bone and the inner ear will be described in detail on high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) and magnetic resonance images. The imaging technique of computer tomography--either single detector or multi detector CT--is normally obtained in an axial plane without the intravenous application of contrast material. The images are reconstructed in a high resolution bone window level setting. The coronal images are reconstructed either if used single detector or multi detector CT. Only in some cases a scan in the coronal plane is directly obtained using a single detector CT. MR imaging of temporal bone is usually performed in a head coil. Axial high resolution 3D-T2-weighted sequences either in fast spin echo technique or gradient echo technique--for example CISS-sequence--are obtained, then an axial high resolution T1-weighted sequence before and after the application of gadopentate dimiglumine is performed. HRCT excellently demonstrates the osseous structures of the temporal bone as well as of the inner ear, while MRI excellently depicts soft tissue structures especially those of the inner ear. Due to the susceptibility artifacts MRI is not very suitable for imaging the external auditory canal or the middle ear or the pneumatic system. In conclusion HRCT is so far excellent to delineate the osseous structures of the temporal bone and inner ear while MRI excellently depicts the soft tissue structures of the inner ear, the internal auditory canal and the cerebellopontine angle. Reissner's membrane, the cochlear duct, and the organ of Corti cannot be visualized even using high-resolution MRI. HRCT and MRI are therefore used as complementary methods for imaging the temporal bone.