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    What does a CT scan of the temporal bones show?

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Tue, Jun 22, 2010

    ct temporal bones mastoidCT scans are frequently used to evaluate the temporal bones.  Temporal bone CTs, also known as mastoid bone CTs are typically ordered to evaluate the outer ear, bones of the ear and inner ear structures for infection, tumor, injury or congenital or acquired hearing disorders.  Below are a few common diagnoses that a CT scan of the temporal bones detect.

    Mastoiditis - This is an infection of the air filled parts of the temporal bone, located just behind your ear. The infection can be aggressive and erode the bone. Symptoms include dizziness, hearing loss, and pain for example. In extreme cases the infection can extend to the nearby brain. This can cause seizures.

    Tumors - Tumors can be from the temporal bone itself or arise in and around the ear structures. These tumors can be either benign or malignant. Some tumors that affect this area include basal cell carcinoma, cholesteotomas, schwannomas, neuromas, and cholesterol granulomas. Symptoms vary but can include pain, hearing loss, and dizziness.

    Trauma - In severe head injuries, the temporal bone can fracture and injure the bones of the ear, the nerves that carry sound or damage the facial nerve (and cause facial paralysis). 

    An CT scan of the temporal bones will evaluate:

    External ear

    The outer ear, nearby tissues and the ear canal are well seen and part of the evaluation of the temporal bones. A temporal bone CT can evaluate a severe swimmer's ear infection - otitis externa. Surfer's also develop a bony growth in the ear which can lead to hearing impairment. This is called Surfer's ear.

    Middle ear

    This includes the ear bones (ossicles) and bone cavities that are involved in transmitting sound. Otitis media is an infection centered in the middle ear.

    Inner ear

    This portion of the ear acts as the first point of sound processing and is protected by the temporal bone. It has nerves which conduct sound and spatial sensation to the brain.


    Portions of the sinuses are seen in a temporal bone CT and sinus disease may be detected.

    Skull base

    The skull base is a complex set of bones that protect and surround parts of important vessels and nerves. Erosion or injury to the bone can damage these structures. The carotid arteries which feed parts of your brain travel through the skull base.

    Your Temporal Bone CT Scan

    A temporal bone CT scan generally takes about 5 to 10 minutes or to complete. If you are going for one remember to remove hair pins, nearby piercings, earrings and necklaces as these metallic objects can interfere with the scan. These scans are done without IV contrast.

    If you're insured, you may need to have your test authorized (approved) by your insurance company first. If you're uninsured and need to look up prices and buy an CT scan of the brain, you can use our website to look up CT scan costs and then purchase with your credit card.

    Have you had a Temporal Bone CT scan? What was it like? Please leave your comments below.



    I had temporal bone CT scans done on both sides. I believe the tech said 900 images, if I remember correctly. Is this enough radation to light up a small village or what?

    posted @ Saturday, September 04, 2010 12:38 AM by James Dante

    That is a lot of images! Some of them may be reconstructions - that is the source images that were acquired during the scan are reconstructed into different planes and are counted again.  
    There have been a lot of issues with excessive radiation with new scanners. I would suggest you get a dose report from the facility. That report will show how much radiation you received.

    posted @ Saturday, September 04, 2010 5:56 AM by Ravi Sohal

    when i go to do it in hospital they told me it same of (CT IAM MASTIODE)I WANNA KNOW TEY ARE SAME OR WHAT PLEASE HELP

    posted @ Saturday, December 11, 2010 3:03 AM by Mohammad daher

    Hi Mohammad 
    IAC and IAM refer to the same type of CT scan.  
    IAC - internal auditory canal 
    IAM - internal auditory meatus

    posted @ Wednesday, December 15, 2010 1:41 AM by Ravi Sohal

    my report exactly said"CT Scan of temporal bones(high resolution) superior canal adhiscence syndromes"when i go to hospital they give they told me "CT IAM mastiodes" it's same CT Scan?? 
    thanks again

    posted @ Wednesday, December 15, 2010 4:31 AM by mohammad

    My daughter (age 4) went for a CT scan yesterday morning, it took less than 3 mins, we just found out 3 months ago she has no hearing in her left ear. Im hoping the CT Scan will help us to find out why she cant hear out of it.. Or if there is anything we can do.. I just feel very stressed about all of this.. Very overwhelming.

    posted @ Thursday, February 10, 2011 9:09 AM by Jennifer

    my new born kid was diagnosed with Atresia and was recommended a CT scan of temporal bone, he is 3 months old now and we're really worried, when can he undergo a CT scan considering the radiation dose that he'll be subjected to ? what to expect from such Scan ? 

    posted @ Sunday, May 29, 2011 5:39 PM by Younis

    I went for a ct of temperol lobe when followed up with dr. he stated that he could not see the inner bones and he has never seen anything like he is not sure where 2 send me next has anyone experienced this i am loosing hearing and not sure what 2 do next

    posted @ Tuesday, October 18, 2011 4:37 PM by alexis

    I had a scan done in NHS hospital on the temporal bone. I want to know if they will let me know the result or send it to my GP

    posted @ Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:38 AM by Sophie Nixon

    Hi all, 
    I had a CT Scan of the temporal bone done about a week ago, the results shows that: 
    A)the mastoid air cells are well pneumatised bilaterally 
    B)the petrous apices are pneumatised bilaterally 
    C)no opacification or bone erosion noted 
    D)normal middle ear cavities, scuta and ossicles noted bilaterally 
    E)no opacification/ soft tissue noted in the middle ear/ attic 
    F)normal semicircular canals 
    By reading this I assume there is no real damage to my ears?? what I would like to know is why do I have hearing loss and what are the best options for me to assist with my hearing loss? 

    posted @ Friday, February 15, 2013 12:47 AM by Ebti

    My Temporal bone was transparent on the scan. What might be a complication arising from this?

    posted @ Thursday, March 28, 2013 5:09 PM by Traci

    Which docter specialize in mastiode operation, who do I need to see? The pain is unbearable and is constant swelling.

    posted @ Wednesday, October 09, 2013 4:16 AM by Gwenda Human

    I had CT scan week ago, my problem is my ear is leaking and smell awful but the problem is my next appointment is end of May with specialist in hospital. The question is how can I found out the result of the scan ASAP because my GP not gona have the scan only the specialist in hospitall.

    posted @ Monday, February 17, 2014 3:55 AM by Filip saiti

    Is this test is really require before getting a hearing aid? would it be help for using hearing aid? can i use hearing aid without any test?

    posted @ Wednesday, September 17, 2014 9:13 AM by Abhinav

    i had CT of temporal bones before 4 years , CT showed that i had rt middle ear mastoiditis. My doctor decided to do mastoidectomy so i agreed , since that time i was fine , no discharge , bleeding , just tennitus that increasing in pitch and kind . Know i have mild pain and i feel a protrusion at base of my skull in rt side . Do i need to do CT OF TEMPORAL bones again or MRI to check if my ear is fine or not. ??? 

    posted @ Saturday, November 15, 2014 5:54 PM by Hello

    Just got my ct scan report on my right ear. I have appt with specialist in March. Meantime would appreciate if someone can explain following noted on report: 
    - soft mass approx 1-2mm within middle ear is of uncertain etioligy 
    - possibility of congenial cholesteatoma favored over a facial schwannoma 

    posted @ Wednesday, December 24, 2014 12:54 PM by Mahmood Fazal

    i have a CT scan scheduled with an appointment with my surgeon immediately afterwards. I can't believe people are made to wait so long for the results and diagnosis.

    posted @ Thursday, March 12, 2015 9:18 AM by Hurley

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