Anatomical Peculiarities of the Superior Semicircular Canals and its Possible Clinical Implication

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Jaime Whyte; Claudio Martínez; Ana Cisneros; Ana Whyte & Miguel Ángel Crovetto


The aim was to study the peculiarities in apical morphology of the superior semicircular canal are studied at level of the arcuate eminence to obtain application conclusions. We have studied 48 heads from human cadavers (96 temporal bones), with the intention of identifying the presence of thinning or dehiscence in the superior semicircular canal, as well as the existence of vascular sulci of the arcuate eminence, which, traveling along the roof of the canal, may affect its anatomical integrity. The study includes a histological (Martin's Trichome method) and a radiological analysis (Computerized Tomography) of the findings (dehiscences and thinnings), and as well as tomographic study of the canals with visible vascular sulci. In one case (1.04 %) we have observed how the canal presented a complete bone defect (dehiscence), in three (3.12%), presented a very thin wall, which did not exceed 0.2 mm thick. In 12 cases (12.5%) sulci covered the arcuate eminence through which meningeal collateral vessels ran, which determined a concavity of between 0.1 and 0.2 mm, whilst the average thickness of this wall in these cases was 1.2 mm. Of the peculiarities studied, the lack of bone coverage is what produces the dehiscence syndrome of the superior semicircular canal. The canals that had a reduced coverage may be predisposed to breakage and therefore cause pathology in them. On the other hand, the presence of vascular sulci that ran along the apical surface of the canal seems to have no consequences to decrease their thickness.

KEY WORDS: Superior semicircular canal; Dehiscence; Thinned wall; Vascular furrows.

How to cite this article

WHYTE, J.; MARTÍNEZ, C.; CISNEROS, A.; WHYTE, A. & CROVETTO, M. A. Anatomical peculiarities of the superior semicircular canals and its possible clinical implication. Int. J. Morphol., 30(3):1158-1165, 2012.