The cochlear length virtually describes the length of the cochlea in a straight line. Several theoretical options for measuring the length of the cochlea are conceivable. In choosing the type of cochlear implant electrode, this can play a crucial role. A wide range of electrodes is available, especially among the models designed to preserve residual hearing and structural integrity. It is believed that the depth of cochlear implant electrode insertion has an influence on the functional hearing based on the area of the cochlea that is electrically stimulated.
Method: Imaging of nine human temporal bone specimens was performed using histological serial microgrinding imaging, micro computed tomography (microCT) and experimental flat-panel volumetric computed tomography (fpVCT). Measurements were then performed by outlining the cochlea in OsiriX (Pixmeo, Los Angeles USA).
Results: The cochlear length of 9 human temporal bones was determined in each histological serial microgrinding imaging, fpVCT and microCT. Cochlear length ranges in histological serial grinding imaging from 45.3 mm to 38.7 mm, in microCT from 46.1 mm to 39.3 mm and in fpVCT from 45.8 mm to 39.8 mm. Significant inter- and intraindividual differences in the cochlear length were observed. The presented methodology is capable of determining the cochlear length in each imaging modality.
Discussion: A methodology to experimentally determine the cochlear length is interesting from both clinical and preclinical perspectives. Insertion studies are highly relevant to the development and evaluation of new electrode arrays. This study presents a measurement methodology that allows for individualized cochlear length measurement based on three established imaging modalities. The data presented here confirm differences in cochlear length. The method described here can be used to evaluate a cochlea in an experimental setting. This allows an individualized, pre-interventional evaluation of the specimen’s specific cochlear anatomy and subsequently a personalized evaluation in cochlear implant insertion studies.
Cochlear length, serial micro grinding, Volumetric computed tomography, assessment of cochlea length