Structural properties of the mastoid using image analysis and visualization
Sammanfattning: The mastoid, located in the temporal bone, houses an air cell system whose cells have a variation in size that can go far below current conventional clinical CT scanner resolution. Therefore, the mastoid air cell system is only partially represented in a CT scan. Where the conventional clinical CT scanner lacks level of minute details, micro-CT scanning provides an overwhelming amount of ne details. The temporal bone being one of the most complex in the human body, visualization of micro-CT scanning of this boneawakens the curiosity of the experimenter, especially with the correct visualization settings.This thesis first presents a statistical analysis determining the surface area to volume ratio of the mastoid air cell system of human temporal bone, from micro-CT scanning using methods previously applied for conventional clinical CT scans. The study compared current results with previous studies, with successive downsampling the data down to a resolution found in conventional clinical CT scanning. The results from the statistical analysis showed that all the small mastoid air cells, that cannot be detected in conventional clinical CT scans, do heavily contribute to the estimation of the surface area, and in consequence to the estimation of the surface area to volume ratio by a factor of about 2.6. Such a result further strengthens the idea of the mastoid to play an active role in pressure regulation and gas exchange.Discovery of micro-channels through specific use of a non-traditional transfer function was then reported, where a qualitative and a quantitative pre-analysis were performed and reported. To gain more knowledge about these micro-channels, a local structure tensor analysis was applied where structures are described in terms of planar, tubular, or isotropic structures. The results from this structural tensor analysis suggest these microchannels to potentially be part of a more complex framework, which hypothetically would provide a separate blood supply for the mucosa lining the mastoid air cell system.The knowledge gained from analysing the micro-channels as locally providing blood to the mucosa, led to the consideration of how inflammation of the mucosa could impact the pneumatization of the mastoid air cell system. Though very primitive, a 3D shape analysis of the mastoid air cell system was carried out. The mastoid air cell system was first represented in a compact form through a medial axis, from which medial balls could be used. The medial balls, representative of how large the mastoid air cells can be locally, were used in two complementary clustering methods, one based on the size diameter of the medial balls and one based on their location within the mastoid air cell system. From both quantitative and qualitative statistics, it was possible to map the clusters based on pre-defined regions already described in the literature, which opened the door for new hypotheses concerning the effect of mucosal inflammation on the mastoid pneumatization.Last but not least, discovery of other structures, previously unreported in the literature, were also visually observed and briefly discussed in this thesis. Further analysis of these unknown structures is needed.
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