Cochlear implant positioning: development and validation of an automatic method using computed tomography image analysis

Erik H. M. Kemper*, Laura M. Markodimitraki, Joell Magre, Dominique C. Simons, Hans G. X. M. Thomeer

*Corresponding author for this work

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The aim of this study was to preoperatively asses the feasibility of drilling a bony recess for the fixation of a cochlear implant in the temporal bone. Even though complications are rare with cochlear implantations, drilling at the site of implantation have resulted in hematoma or cerebrospinal fluid leakage. Mainly in cases with a reduced temporal bone thickness, the risk for complications has increased, such as in paediatric patients.Methods An in-house designed semi-automatic algorithm was developed to analyse a 3D model of the skull. The feasibility of drilling the recess was determined by a gradient descent method to search for the thickest part of the temporal bone. Feasibility was determined by the residual bone thickness which was calculated after a simulated drilling of the recess at the thickest position. An initial validation of the algorithm was performed by measuring the accuracy of the algorithm on five 3D models with known thickest locations for the recess. The accuracy was determined by a part comparison between the known position and algorithm provided position.Results In four of the five validation models a standard deviation for accuracy below the predetermined cut-off value of 4.2 mm was achieved between the actual thickest position and the position determined by the algorithm. Furthermore, the residual thickness calculated by the algorithm showed a high agreement (max. 0.02 mm difference) with the actual thickness.Conclusion With the developed algorithm, a semi-automatic method was created to analyse the temporal bone thickness within a specified region of interest on the skull. Thereby, providing indications for surgical feasibility, potential risks for anatomical structures and impact on procedure time of cochlear implantation. This method could be a valuable research tool to objectively assess feasibility of drilling a recess in patients with thin temporal bones preoperatively.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1328187
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2024


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