Swedish and Canadian researchers have used an advanced 3D imaging technique, synchrotron X-rays, to three-dimensionally map the blood vessels of the inner ear.
To be able to study the blood vessels in the inner auditory organ, the researchers used the synchrotron system in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The system, which is one of eight in the world, is as large as a football pitch and accelerates particles with very high energy. This makes it possible to create pictures of the smallest parts of the inner ear. Through computer processing, the images can then be made three-dimensional.
“We need to get better at understanding the micro-anatomy of the human auditory organ and how electrodes operated in affect structures in the cochlea. It can lead to an improved electrode design and better hearing results. 3D reconstructions mean that we can study new surgical paths to the auditory nerve”
–Helge Rask-Andersen, Senior Professor in Experimental Otology at the Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University
Research Could Help Contribute New Knowledge of Hearing Disorders
The researchers hope the method in the future can contribute to new knowledge about diseases of the ear, such as Meniere’s disease, sudden deafness and tinnitus, the causes of which are still largely unknown. But as yet, it is not possible to study living patients with this technique. The radiation is too strong.
“We study specimens from the deceased, meaning donated temporal bones. We hope that the technology can be modified in the future to achieve better resolution than today,” says Helge Rask-Andersen.
Xueshuang Mei et al. (2020), Vascular Supply of the Human Spiral Ganglion: Novel Three-Dimensional Analysis Using Synchrotron Phase-Contrast Imaging and Histology, Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-62653-0
Source: Uppsala University, Nature Scientific Reports