Imaging the External Ear: Practical Approach to Normal and Pathologic Conditions.
Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc
The external ear (EE) is an osseous-cartilaginous structure that extends from the auricle to the tympanic membrane. It is divided into two parts: the auricle (or pinna) and the external auditory canal (EAC). Given the ease of access to the EE, imaging studies are not always needed to make a diagnosis. However, when lesions block visual access to areas deep to the EE abnormality, complications are suspected, or there is lack of response to treatment, imaging becomes essential. A basic understanding of the embryologic development and knowledge of the anatomy of the auricle and EAC are useful for accurate diagnosis of EE lesions. Congenital, traumatic, inflammatory, neoplastic, and vascular conditions can affect the EE. An overview of the anatomy and embryologic development of the EE is presented, with discussion and illustrations of common and uncommon conditions that affect EE structures and a focus on the CT and MRI features that are of interest to radiologists. CT is usually the first diagnostic modality used to evaluate the EAC and is the superior method for demonstrating bone changes. MRI provides excellent tissue characterization and enables one to better define lesion extension and perineural tumor spread. In addition, a flowchart to facilitate the differential diagnosis of EE abnormalities is provided.
Tsuno NSG, Tsuno MY, Coelho Neto CAF, Noujaim SE, Decnop M, Pacheco FT, et al Imaging the external ear: practical approach to normal and pathologic conditions. Radiographics. 2022 Mar-Apr;42(2):522-540. doi: 10.1148/rg.210148. PMID: 35119966.