Automatic segmentation of the facial nerve and chorda tympani using image registration and statistical priors

Jack H. Noble, Frank M. Warren, Robert F. Labadie, Benoit M. Dawant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


In cochlear implant surgery, an electrode array is permanently implanted in the cochlea to stimulate the auditory nerve and allow deaf people to hear. A minimally invasive surgical technique has recently been proposed - percutaneous cochlear access - in which a single hole is drilled from the skull surface to the cochlea. For the method to be feasible, a safe and effective drilling trajectory must be determined using a pre-operative CT. Segmentation of the structures of the ear would improve trajectory planning safety and efficiency and enable the possibility of automated planning. Two important structures of the ear, the facial nerve and chorda tympani, present difficulties in intensity based segmentation due to their diameter (as small as 1.0 and 0.4 mm) and adjacent inter-patient variable structures of similar intensity in CT imagery. A multipart, model-based segmentation algorithm is presented in this paper that accomplishes automatic segmentation of the facial nerve and chorda tympani. Segmentation results are presented for 14 test ears and are compared to manually segmented surfaces. The results show that mean error in structure wall localization is 0.2 and 0.3 mm for the facial nerve and chorda, proving the method we propose is robust and accurate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2008
Subtitle of host publicationImage Processing
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventMedical Imaging 2008: Image Processing - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 17 2008Feb 19 2008

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherMedical Imaging 2008: Image Processing
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Atlas-based segmentation
  • Chorda tympani
  • Cochlear implant
  • Facial nerve
  • Model-based segmentation
  • Optimal path

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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