Synchrotron radiation imaging revealing the sub-micron structure of the auditory ossicles.

Anschütz, Lukas; Demattè, Marco; Pica, Alessia; Wimmer, Wilhelm; Caversaccio, Marco; Bonnin, Anne (2019). Synchrotron radiation imaging revealing the sub-micron structure of the auditory ossicles. Hearing research, 383(107806), p. 107806. Elsevier 10.1016/j.heares.2019.107806

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Synchrotron-based X-ray Phase Contrast Imaging (SR X-PCI) allows, thanks to a highly coherent and powerful X-ray beam, the imaging of surface and cross-sectional tissue properties with high absorption-contrast. The objective of this study is to investigate the sub-micron structure of the ossicular chain. The understanding of its morphological properties at sub-micron scale will help to refine the understanding of its structural properties. The investigation of intact, non-decalcified and unstained ossicular bones allows to study the spatial relationship between surface properties, internal structure and tomographical slides.


The tomography datasets with a pixel size of 0.65 μm were reconstructed and 3D volume rendering models of all specimens were analyzed. Based on surface models, the surfaces of the articulations, the insertion of the tensor tympani and stapedial muscle tendons and the nutritional foramina, where the vessels penetrate the ossicles, were visualized. Moreover, a branched network of inner channels could be represented and its connection to the nutritional foramen was demonstrated. Looking at the tomographic structure of the three ossicles a mineralization pattern for every auditory bone was described, indicating a considerable variation throughout the bones.


This study investigates the submicron-structure of the auditory ossicles at a pixel size of 0.65 μm, which is to the best of our knowledge the highest resolution reported in the investigation of the human auditory system so far. The provided data helps in the further understanding of the anatomical conformation of the ossicular chain.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders (ENT)
10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Hearing Research Laboratory

UniBE Contributor:

Anschütz, Lukas Peter; Wimmer, Wilhelm and Caversaccio, Marco


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Stefan Weder

Date Deposited:

21 Oct 2019 12:34

Last Modified:

01 Apr 2020 09:31

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Auditory ossicles Ossicular chain Phase contrast imaging Synchrotron radiation Vascular supply




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