Three-Dimensional Analysis of the Fundus of the Human Internal Acoustic Canal

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Documentation of the nerve components in the internal acoustic canal is essential before cochlea implantation surgery. Interpretations may be challenged by wide anatomical variations of the VIIIth nerve and their ramifications. Malformations may further defy proper nerve identification.


Using microcomputed tomography, we analyzed the fundus bone channels in an archival collection of 113 macerated human temporal bones and 325 plastic inner molds. Data were subsequently processed by volume-rendering software using a bony tissue algorithm. Three-dimensional reconstructions were made, and through orthogonal sections, the topographic anatomy was established.


The technique provided additional information regarding the anatomy of the nerve foramina/channels of the human fundus region, including variations and destinations. Channel anastomosis were found beyond the level of the fundus. A foramen of the transverse crest was identified.


Three-dimensional reconstructions and cropping outlined the bone canals and demonstrated the highly variable VIIIth nerve anatomy at the fundus of the human inner acoustic canal. Myriad channel interconnections suggested an intricate system of neural interactive pathways in humans. Particularly striking was the variable anatomy of the saccule nerve channels. The results may assist in the preoperative interpretation of the VIIIth nerve anatomy.

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