The mastoid cavity is seen here. The mastoid cavity is an air-containing cavity that is connected to the middle ear. The cavity has been opened with a high speed drill to visualize the important structures. Within the mastoid cavity, the balance canals are visualized after all of the air cells are opened. In this intraoperative photo, the ear canal wall (black arrow) has been thinned so that the semicircular canals can be visualized. The solid bone of the inner ear balance system (white arrow) is clearly visualized.
A closer view of the solid bone of the inner ear is shown. This bone is the hardest bone in the entire body and houses the critical inner ear structures.
The semicircular balance canals are exposed with the high-speed drill. These canals house the neural elements that allow our balance system to function. There are 3 balance canals in each inner ear, and two of them are seen in this photo. The horizontal (lateral) semicircular canal is shown with the white arrow. The black arrow highlights the posterior semicircular canal.
This is a close-up view of the 3 balance canals. These semicircular canals have been opened; exposing the canal itself and the neural elements within each canal will be removed. This surgery is typically performed when the inner ear balance system is severely malfunctioning. The posterior semicircular canal (blue arrow), horizontal semicircular canal (white arrow), and superior semicircular canal (black arrow) are clearly visualized.
This is a global view of the mastoid cavity and semicircular canals. The canals have been opened but not yet removed completely.
All of the semicircular canals have been completely removed, The labyrinth, the area where much of the balance system resides, has been opened and all of the balance elements within it removed (black arrow). This concludes the procedure, as all of the poor balance function of the inner ear has been eliminated.