High Frequency Ex Vivo Ultrasound Imaging of the Middle Ear to Show Simulated Ossicular Pathology

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Abstract

Hypothesis:

To illustrate the ability of high frequency ultrasound (HFUS) using a transducer array to demonstrate a variety of simulated clinical scenarios involving the ossicular chain.

Background:

HFUS (>20 MHz) is a relatively new area of ultrasonic imaging that provides an order of magnitude better image resolution than the conventional low-frequency systems. HFUS may be a real-time imaging system that could be used in the clinic and would complement computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to enhance the decision-making process for patients with middle ear pathology.

Methods:

Using a commercially available HFUS scanner, we imaged a variety of simulated clinical scenarios to demonstrate the ability of HFUS to image middle ear pathology.

Results:

We were able to clearly demonstrate real-time visualization of ossicular pathology in human temporal bones, whereas there are some limitations in the current technique to be addressed before it is used in vivo.

Conclusion:

HFUS allows excellent visualization of middle ear anatomy and pathology through an intact tympanic membrane (TM), and these experiments go some way towards giving the otologist access to high resolution, real-time imaging of the middle ear in the clinic.

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