Optimization of 3D-Visualization of Micro-Anatomical Structures of the Human Inner Ear in Osmium Tetroxide Contrast Enhanced Micro-CT Scans

Thomas van den Boogert, Marc van Hoof, Stephan Handschuh, Rudolf Glueckert, Nils Guinand, Jean-Philippe Guyot, Herman Kingma, Angelica Perez-Fornos, Bart Seppen, Lejo Johnson Chacko, Anneliese Schrott-Fischer, Raymond van de Berg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Knowledge of the neuro-anatomical architecture of the inner ear contributes to the improvement and development of cochlear and vestibular implants. The present knowledge ismainly based on two-dimensional images (histology) or derived models that simplify the complexity of this architecture. This study investigated the feasibility of visualizing relevant neuro-anatomical structures of the inner ear in a dynamic three-dimensional reproduction, using a combination of staining, micro-CT imaging and an image processing algorithm. Methods: Four fresh cadaveric temporal bones were postfixed with osmium tetroxide (OsO4) and decalcified with EDTA. Micro-CT was used for scanning at 10 mu m (4 scans) and 5.5 mu m (1 scan) voxel resolution. A new image processing algorithm was developed and the scans were visualized in open source software. Results: OsO4 enhanced the contrast in all scans and the visualization was substantially improved by the image processing algorithm. The three-dimensional renderings provided detailed visualization of the whole inner ear. Details were visible up to the size of individual neurons, nerve crossings and the specific neuro-anatomical structures such as the tunnel of Corti. Conclusion: The combination of OsO4, micro-CT and the proposed image processing algorithm provides an accurate and detailed visualization of the three-dimensional micro-anatomy of the human inner ear.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Neuroanatomy
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2018


  • contrast enhancement staining
  • image processing
  • Micro-CT
  • temporal bones
  • 3D rendering
  • inner ear
  • cochlear implants
  • vestibular implants


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimization of 3D-Visualization of Micro-Anatomical Structures of the Human Inner Ear in Osmium Tetroxide Contrast Enhanced Micro-CT Scans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this