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International Journal of Otolaryngology
Volume 2017, Article ID 6753604, 9 pages
Research Article

Innovative 3D Model of the Human Middle Ear in High Resolution with a Histological Microgrinding Method: A Feasibility Study and Comparison with CT

1Department of Otolaryngology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
2Clinic for Exotic Pets, Reptiles, Pet, and Feral Birds, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany
3Institute of Continuum Mechanics, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität, Hannover, Germany
4Institute for Neuroanatomy and Cell Biology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Gudrun Brandes; ed.revonnah-hm@nurdug.sednarb

Received 26 September 2016; Accepted 1 February 2017; Published 3 May 2017

Academic Editor: Vittorio Rinaldi

Copyright © 2017 Susanne Bradel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Conclusion. The development of a histological 3D model of the tympanic cavity visualizes the exact microanatomy of the sound conduction organ and is therefore essential for finite elements simulations and surgical training. Objectives. So far, no accurate histological 3D model of the sound conduction system existed in literature. For 3D reconstruction of the very fine structures inside and outside the auditory ossicles, a method based on histological slices allows a more differential analysis of both hard and soft tissues and could thus be superior to μCT. Method. A complete temporal bone was embedded in epoxy resin and microground in distances of about 34 μm. After photodocumentation of every plane, a 3D reconstruction was performed by using the Computer Aided Design (CAD) program Rhinoceros 5®. For comparison, a μCT of the same specimen resulted in a 3D model of the calcified structures in the middle ear. Results. The histological 3D model gives an excellent overview to all anatomical soft and bony tissues of the human auditory ossicles. Specifically the fine blood vessel system and the exact dimension of cartilage areas inside the ossicles can be illustrated much more precisely than with μCT data. The present technique also allows the evaluation of the fine connecting ligaments inside the tympanic cavity.