The diagnostic accuracy of 1.5 T versus 3 T non-echo-planar diffusion-weighted imaging in the detection of residual or recurrent cholesteatoma in the middle ear and mastoid

L M J Lips*, P J Nelemans, F M D Theunissen, E Roele, J van Tongeren, J R Hof, A A Postma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND: This study retrospectively compares diagnostic performance of 1.5 T versus 3 T non-echo planar diffusion weighted imaging with or without additional T1 and T2 sequences in the detection of residual and/or recurrent cholesteatoma.

METHODS: Patients with clinically suspected recurrent cholesteatoma or postoperative routine survey MR who subsequently underwent surgical procedure were retrospectively included (135 patients, 164 operated ears) from a large database. Patients underwent 1.5 T (128 ears) or 3 T MRI (36 ears), with non-echo planar DWI, T1 and T2 acquisitions. Two radiologists independently reassessed the images. Definitive surgical diagnosis was used as gold standard. Sensitivity, specificity and diagnostic odds ratio were evaluated.

RESULTS: According to surgical diagnosis a cholesteatoma was present in 124 of 164 ears, corresponding with a prevalence of 75%. Sensitivity and specificity were lower for 3 T compared to 1.5 T, irrespective of whether additional T1 and T2-weighted sequences were used or not. Diagnostic odds ratios were higher for 1.5 T (34 and 12 for reader 1 and 2, respectively) compared to 3 T (3 and 4 for reader 1 and 2, respectively). Adding T1 and T2 sequences lowers sensitivity but increases specificity.

CONCLUSION: Non-epi DWI for the detection of residual/recurrent cholesteatoma is preferably performed on 1.5 T scanners over 3 T. The use of additional sequences regarding detection of cholesteatoma is debatable as it lowers sensitivity but increases specificity. However, these sequences may also be of use in diagnosing complications and planning surgical procedures in some hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-440
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroradiology
Issue number6
Early online date2 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Mesh
  • Cholesteatoma
  • Ear
  • middle
  • Temporal bone
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (diffusion weighted imaging)
  • Non-epi diffusion weighted imaging
  • Data accuracy
  • MRI

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