Evaluation of the human petrotympanic fissure using anatomized cadaveric specimens and multi-detector CT imaging

Óscar Villalba, Santiago Rojas, Marisa Ortega, Alberto Solano, Alfonso Rodríguez-Baeza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch


© 2019, Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature. Purpose: The purpose of the current study is twofold. First, to investigate the variability of the petrotympanic fissure’s (PTF) morphology in anatomized human cadaveric specimens using multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT), and second, to compare the resulting measurements to investigate the possibilities of applying MDCT in the determination of PTF morphology in living humans. Methods: Specimens (n = 15) containing the temporal bone and TMJ were obtained from embalmed adult female (53.3%) and male (46.7%) cadavers and imaged using a helical 16-row scanner. Afterwards, cryosections were obtained and morphometric parameters were measured. Degree of agreement between both determinations was investigated and morphometric variables were also compared between PTF types. Results: Three different types of PTF were identified. Type 1 was a wide tunnel-shaped structure. It was found in 20% of the cases. Type 2 was wide in the entrance but gradually narrows to the tympanic cavity. It was found in 46.7% of specimens. Finally, type 3, which was observed in 33.3% of the cases, was wide at the entrance of the mandibular fossa, followed by a middle region with flat-shaped tunnel structure and a narrow exit. The PTF’s vertical diameters at the mandibular fossa, midpoint, and tympanic cavity and the width at the mandibular fossa all were significantly greater in type 1 specimens. Conclusions: MDCT is suitable for investigating the variable morphology of human PTF and its association with middle ear’s and TMJ pathologies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSurgical and Radiologic Anatomy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Human anatomy
  • Middle ear
  • Multi-detector computed tomography
  • Petrotympanic fissure
  • Temporomandibular joint

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