Labyrinthitis ossificans

Labyrinthitis ossificans, also known as labyrinthine ossification, represents pathological ossification of the membranous labyrinth as a response to an insult to the inner ear.

It is usually associated with profound sensorineural hearing loss, and may sometimes be associated with dizziness and/or vertigo. It is the most common cause of acquired sensorineural hearing loss in children.

The disorder is most commonly the end result of prior suppurative labyrinthitis, either related to otomastoiditis (tympanogenic etiology) or meningitis (meningogenic etiology) 1,5-7. Other causes include temporal bone surgery or trauma 1,5autoimmune inner ear disease 9,10, and sickle cell disease 5.

The scala tympani of the basal turn of the cochlea is the most commonly affected site 11.

High-density bone deposition within the membranous labyrinth:

  • mild disease: hazy increase in density within fluid spaces of the membranous labyrinth
  • moderate disease: focal areas of bony encroachment on fluid spaces of the membranous labyrinth
  • severe disease: membranous labyrinth completely obliterated by bone replacing fluid spaces
  • loss of normal high signal of fluid within the membranous labyrinth is seen on heavily T2 weighted images (as low signal intensity foci in the labyrinth)

It may complicate or preclude cochlear implantation.

Possible imaging differential considerations include:

Article information

rID: 21787
System: Head & Neck
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Labyrinthine ossification
  • Ossifying labyrinthitis
  • Chronic labyrinthitis

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Cases and figures

  • Labyrinthitis oss...
    Case 1
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  • Case 3: CT
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  • Case 3: MRI
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