open access

Vol 82, No 4 (2023)
Original article
Submitted: 2022-08-29
Accepted: 2022-10-16
Published online: 2022-10-28
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A micro-computed tomography study of the sinus tympani variation in humans

J. Skrzat1, M. Kozerska1, M. Zarzecki1, S. Wroński2, J. Tarasiuk2
·
Pubmed: 36385425
·
Folia Morphol 2023;82(4):898-908.
Affiliations
  1. Department of Anatomy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
  2. Department of Condensed Matter Physics, AGH-UST University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland

open access

Vol 82, No 4 (2023)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Submitted: 2022-08-29
Accepted: 2022-10-16
Published online: 2022-10-28

Abstract

Background: The posterior part of the tympanic cavity comprises a depression
called the sinus tympani (ST). The said structure is of outmost importance, e.g. in
surgical procedures involving the middle ear, as a pathology (microbial biofilm or
cholesteatoma) present in this difficult to access location might hinder its effective
treatment. The aim of the study was to evaluate anatomical variants of the ST in
human adult petrous bones. For this purpose, three-dimensional (3D) models of
the ST were recreated from micro-computed tomography (CT) scans of 44 dry
petrous bone samples (19 female, 25 male), applying 3D Slicer, Meshmixer and
MeshLab software.
Materials and methods: Anatomical variants of the ST were classified in terms of
both shape and surface configuration. The internal configuration of the ST was
classified as heterogeneous — containing small bony trabeculae and crests up
to 1.0 mm in size, contrasting to homogeneous ST that characterizes a relatively
smooth interior, or mere presence of minor depressions and mild folds. Female STs
were more bowl-shaped (57.9%) than saccular (42.1%), and had heterogeneous
surface configuration (52.6%) compared to homogeneous (47.4%). On the contrary,
male STs were more saccular (52.0%) rather than bowl-shaped (48.0%), and
predominantly had a heterogeneous surface (84.0%) over homogeneous (16.0%).
Results and Conclusions: A complex combination of ST features comprised of
a saccular shape and heterogeneous surface occurred in 52.0% of males and in
15.8% of females (a statistically significant difference; p = 0.0254, Fisher’s exact
test) seems to be clinically important because of its potential negative implication on
health outcomes after surgery in the case of, for example, cholesteatoma, and it may
also favour chronic pathological processes.

Abstract

Background: The posterior part of the tympanic cavity comprises a depression
called the sinus tympani (ST). The said structure is of outmost importance, e.g. in
surgical procedures involving the middle ear, as a pathology (microbial biofilm or
cholesteatoma) present in this difficult to access location might hinder its effective
treatment. The aim of the study was to evaluate anatomical variants of the ST in
human adult petrous bones. For this purpose, three-dimensional (3D) models of
the ST were recreated from micro-computed tomography (CT) scans of 44 dry
petrous bone samples (19 female, 25 male), applying 3D Slicer, Meshmixer and
MeshLab software.
Materials and methods: Anatomical variants of the ST were classified in terms of
both shape and surface configuration. The internal configuration of the ST was
classified as heterogeneous — containing small bony trabeculae and crests up
to 1.0 mm in size, contrasting to homogeneous ST that characterizes a relatively
smooth interior, or mere presence of minor depressions and mild folds. Female STs
were more bowl-shaped (57.9%) than saccular (42.1%), and had heterogeneous
surface configuration (52.6%) compared to homogeneous (47.4%). On the contrary,
male STs were more saccular (52.0%) rather than bowl-shaped (48.0%), and
predominantly had a heterogeneous surface (84.0%) over homogeneous (16.0%).
Results and Conclusions: A complex combination of ST features comprised of
a saccular shape and heterogeneous surface occurred in 52.0% of males and in
15.8% of females (a statistically significant difference; p = 0.0254, Fisher’s exact
test) seems to be clinically important because of its potential negative implication on
health outcomes after surgery in the case of, for example, cholesteatoma, and it may
also favour chronic pathological processes.

Get Citation

Keywords

sinus tympani, retrotympanum, middle ear, micro-computed tomography

About this article
Title

A micro-computed tomography study of the sinus tympani variation in humans

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Vol 82, No 4 (2023)

Article type

Original article

Pages

898-908

Published online

2022-10-28

Page views

876

Article views/downloads

540

DOI

10.5603/FM.a2022.0094

Pubmed

36385425

Bibliographic record

Folia Morphol 2023;82(4):898-908.

Keywords

sinus tympani
retrotympanum
middle ear
micro-computed tomography

Authors

J. Skrzat
M. Kozerska
M. Zarzecki
S. Wroński
J. Tarasiuk

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