Automatic Localization of Cochlear Implant Electrode Contacts in CT

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Abstract

Objectives:

Determining the exact location of cochlear implant (CI) electrode contacts after implantation is important, as it helps quantifying the relation between CI positioning and hearing outcome. Unfortunately, localization of individual contacts can be difficult, because the spacing between the electrode contacts is near the spatial resolution limit of high-resolution clinical computed tomography (CT) scanners. This study introduces and examines a simple, automatic method for the localization of intracochlear electrode contacts. CI geometric specifications may provide the prior knowledge that is essential to accurately estimate contact positions, even though individual contacts may not be visibly resolved.

Design:

The prior knowledge in CI geometry is used to accurately estimate intracochlear electrode contact positions in high-resolution CT scans of seven adult patients implanted with a CI (Cochlear Ltd.). The automatically detected electrode contact locations were verified against locations marked by two experienced observers. The interobserver errors and the errors between the averaged locations and the automatically detected locations were calculated. The estimated contact positions were transformed to a cylindrical cochlear coordinate system, according to an international consensus, in which the insertion angles and the radius and elevation were measured.

Results:

The linear correlation of the automatically detected electrode contact positions with the manually detected locations was high (R2 = 0.98 for the radius, and R2 = 1.00 for the insertion angle). The errors in radius and in insertion angle between the automatically detected locations and the manually detected locations were 0.12 mm and 1.7°. These errors were comparable to the interobserver errors. Geometrical measurements were in line with what is usually found in human cochleae. The mean insertion angle of the most apical electrode was 410° (range: 316° to 503°). The mean radius of the electrode contacts in the first turn of the cochlear spiral was 3.0 mm, and the mean radius of the remainder in the second turn was 1.7 mm.

Conclusions:

With implant geometry as prior knowledge, automatic analysis of high-resolution CT scans enables accurate localization of CI electrode contacts. The output of this method can be used to study the effect of CI positioning on hearing outcomes in more detail.

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