Systematic method for morphological reconstruction of the semicircular canals using a fully automatic skeletonization process
We present a novel method to characterize the morphology of semicircular canals of the inner ear. Previous experimental works have a common nexus, the human-operator subjectivity. Although these methods are mostly automatic, they rely on a human decision to determine some particular anatomical positions. We implement a systematic analysis where there is no human subjectivity. Our approach is based on a specific magnetic resonance study done in a group of 20 volunteers. From the raw data, the proposed method defines the centerline of all three semicircular canals through a skeletonization process and computes the angle of the functional pair and other geometrical parameters. This approach allows us to assess the inter-operator effect on other methods. From our results, we conclude that, although an average geometry can be defined, the inner ear anatomy cannot be reduced to a single geometry as seen in previous experimental works. We observed a relevant variability of the geometrical parameters in our cohort of volunteers that hinders this usual simplification.