Objectives: We sought to determine normative data for the radiologic presentation of the cochlear aqueduct (CA), hypothesizing that increasing the scanner's resolution could enhance detection capability. Methods: Axial sections of 502 high-resolution computed tomography (CT) images of temporal bones (488 patients) were reviewed. A type 1 CA was visualized on CT scans up to the vestibule, and its portion in the otic capsule segment could be seen as a thin (<1 mm) streak. In type 2, we were able to detect the medial two thirds of the structure, but we failed to see the whole otic capsule portion. In type 3, only the external aperture of the aqueduct and/or the medial third was seen. We defined undetectable CAs as type 4. Results: We obtained CT scans with 0.6-, 1.1-, or 1.3-mm-thick slices through the petrous bones in 9.5%, 58.8%, and 31.7% of cases, respectively. The CA was visible and bilaterally symmetric in 49% of the images, and type 2 was the most commonly detected CA type (36%). The CA was invisible on either side in 21.9% of scans, irrespective of CT resolution, and was asymmetric in 53 of the 502 images. The CA types varied with changes in resolution, although type 3 appeared unchanged independent of alterations in resolution in most cases. Conclusions: There was no significant difference in CT detection capability between CA types at different resolutions. Computed tomography failed to demonstrate any CAs ≥1 mm in width in the otic capsule segment.
- Cochlear aqueduct