OBJECTIVE: Description and evaluation of a newly developed artificial temporal bone (TB) model suitable for surgical training for cochlear implantation.
SUBJECT: Based on micro-computed tomographic images, a TB model was designed with material properties as similar to bone as possible. The bony anatomic details were rebuilt as closely as possible with preservation of the endocochlear lumen.
INTERVENTION: The TB model was compared with a human cadaveric TB by 8 otologists experienced in cochlear implantation.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The otologists were asked to respond to a semiquantitative questionnaire with scales from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Anatomic details were compared macroscopically and microscopically. The surgical steps of mastoidectomy, posterior tympanotomy, cochleostomy, and insertion of a cochlear electrode were assessed.
RESULTS: The material properties and anatomic details of the TB model were generally comparable to the human TB. One exception was the round window membrane, which was not modeled appropriately. The surgical steps, including the insertion of the electrode, were rated as comparable.
CONCLUSION: The TB model is suitable for surgical training for interventions such as cochlear implantation. It cannot replace cadaveric human temporal bones completely, but it provides an easily available alternative to train and develop surgical skills. A wider variety of anatomic models, such as an infant's TB or malformations, will increase the value of TB models.