Temporal bone trauma is frequently encountered in the emergency department. Technologic advances have enabled timely acquisition of thin-section images and multiplanar reconstructions such that temporal bone anatomy can be evaluated in great detail, with excel-lent delineation of fractures. The temporal bone is composed of a myriad of tiny structures, including many fissures and canals, that must be distinguished from true fractures. In addition, injury to important structures may result in serious complications such as hearing loss, dizziness, imbalance, perilymphatic fistula, cerebrospinal fluid leakage, facial nerve paralysis, and vascular injury. Structures that should be examined include the tympanic cavity and tegmen, the ossicular chain, the bony labyrinth, the facial canal, the internal carotid artery, the jugular foramen and venous sinuses, and the in-tracranial contents. Radiologists should be familiar with the anatomy of the temporal bone and be able to describe any pathologic findings and make suggestions to referring clinicians to guide management and determine the prognosis. The authors describe the typical CT and MRI appearances of temporal bone trauma, entities that mimic this injury and thus must be differentiated, and compulsory points for evaluating clinically relevant associated complications. Instruction is provided for acquiring the diagnostic skills necessary to report suggested injury status, complications, and likely sequelae to clinicians.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging