Relevant Anatomical Details in Rats Regarding Otologic Research

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Cristina Maria Blebea; Maximilian George Dindelegan; Laszlo Peter Ujvary; Sergiu Susman; Alma Aurelia Maniu & Marcel Cosgarea


The objective of the study was to provide a detailed anatomical description of the rat’s ear anatomy that will prove insightful to different experimental otologic surgical procedures regardless of scope. Three male Wistar rats were enrolled in the study. Candidates were screened for systemic and otologic pathology. External ear canal endoscopy was carried out with a 30 ̊ rigid endoscope through an image capture system. Middle ear anatomical elements were analyzed under stereomicroscopy. 3D computer tomography image reconstruction was realized with a micro-CT to describe the anatomy. Image data from all three rats were analyzed. Anatomical annotations and surgical exposure recommendations were added for key elements. The most relevant images from all three rats were selected for representation. Detailed visualization of the structural elements of the tympanic cavity were clearly visible: promontory, round window, stapedial artery, stapes, incus, and tympanic membrane were all constant findings. We describe a step wise ventral surgical approach of the middle and inner ear for which we found that the clavotrapezius muscle was a reliable landmark. For the transtympanic approach the endoscopic transcanal access was an easy and reliable method for which a detailed anatomical representation was depicted. Further, anatomical similarities to humans were observed by stereomicroscopy and Micro-CT imaging reiterating that the rat model is suitable for otologic research. The endoscopic approach to the tympanic membrane is comfortable and less expensive than a microscope. The tendon of the clavotrapezius muscle can be a reliable landmark for discovering the tympanic bulla when considering a ventral approach. 3D Micro-CT reconstruction allows intact evaluation of the samples, simultaneously being a diagnostic and also a learning tool.

KEY WORDS: Ear; Rat; Anatomy; Otologic surgery; Micro-CT.

How to cite this article

BLEBEA, C. M.; DINDELEGAN, M. G.; UJVARY, L. P.; SUSMAN, S.; MANIU, A. A. & COSGAREA, M. Relevant anatomical details in rats regarding otologic research. Int. J. Morphol., 40(5):1261-1267, 2022.